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Robocaller accused of spoofing local numbers to make threatening calls fined $9.9 million

Robocalls 010220
Posted at 8:59 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 22:59:52-05

The Federal Communications Commission levied a nearly $10 million fine on Scott Rhodes, a man the FCC accuses of spoofing local telephone numbers to make threatening or intimidating phone messages.

According to the FCC, Rhodes made 5,000 phone calls, spoofing the caller ID information to make the call appear to be from a local area.

“The robocalls included xenophobic fearmongering (including to a victim’s family), racist attacks on political candidates, an apparent attempt to influence the jury in a domestic terrorism case, and threatening language toward a local journalist,” the FCC said.

“The law is clear: spoofed caller ID robocalls used with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or cheat recipients is unlawful. And the American people are sick and tired of it. In this instance, not only were the calls unlawful, but the caller took them to new levels of egregiousness,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “With today’s fine, we once again make clear our commitment to aggressively go after those who are unlawfully bombarding the American people with spoofed robocalls.”

The FCC said the robocalls contained prerecorded voice messages targeting political campaigns and were made to phone numbers in communities that had recently experienced major news events relating to or involving public controversies.