The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a fine of $225 million which, if confirmed, would represent the largest fine it has ever assessed, after it accused a company of making more than 1 billion illegally spoofed robocalls.
The company still has a chance to respond to the FCC’s allegations before the fine amount is finalized.
Rising Eagle made the 1 billion calls during the first four months of 2019. One of the company’s representatives confirmed that it purposely called individuals whose names were on the Do Not Call registry because it believed “it would be more profitable to target” that group of consumers, according to the FCC. The company was selling short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans and spoofed the numbers of well-known insurance carriers like Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and UnitedHealth Group.
But when prompted to speak with a representative, individuals were connected to a call center that had no affiliation with any of the carriers it was purporting to call on behalf of.
If confirmed, the $225 million fine would dwarf the previous record fine assessed for making illegal robocalls — a $120 million fine that was imposed in 2018 against an individual accused of making 100 million illegal calls.
But a potentially bad sign that the full fine will never be collected is the noted absence of the Department of Justice participating in this action, noted FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. In a statement, she noted that the FCC’s track record on collecting imposed fines is less than stellar.
“I appreciate the work of our Enforcement Bureau to build a case against this fraud,” Rosenworcel said. “I only wish that we had a whole-of-government effort to not only announce a big fine but do what is really meaningful — and that’s collect.”