FCC issues record $120 million robocall fine

FCC issues record $120 million robocall fine
© Greg Nash

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday announced that it had issued a $120 million fine to a man in Florida for making millions of robocalls.

The FCC said on Thursday that it formally handed Adrian Abramovich the record fine for making almost 100 million robocalls in three months. The agency had previously proposed the fine in 2017 but is now coming through on its promise to reprimand Abramovich.

“Tough enforcement is a key part of the FCC’s robust strategy for combating illegal robocalls, and this Forfeiture Order represents a big step forward in our enforcement efforts,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said on Thursday. “This is the largest illegal robocalling scheme that the FCC has investigated to date, and we are appropriately imposing a $120 million forfeiture in response.”

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Abramovich testified in Congress last month under subpoena over the robocalls, which are illegal.

During the hearing, he described making calls as “very easy” and cited an abundance of open-source software for the practice. He said one person could make 10,000 calls daily.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle grilled him over the practice, calling him out for predatory methods like targeting senior citizens who may be more vulnerable to falling for the false promises made in such calls.

The fine is a part of the FCC’s complicated relationship with robocalls. Pai has taken a harsh tone toward robocalls, which are universally unpopular, but he has been hesitant to create stronger regulations against the calls.

Democrats in Congress have pressured Pai and company to take stronger action, especially in light of a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision that axed portions of a previously established FCC regulation against robocalls.