US telecom companies charged for facilitating millions of illegal robocalls

A group of US telecom companies have been charged by the feds for their involvement in millions of illegal telemarketing calls made to American consumers.

The US government has filed charges against several US telecom corporations and the individuals who run them, for providing technological services to crooked telemarketers accused of illegally bombarding American consumers with millions of pre-recorded marketing robocalls.

The complaint was filed in a California court Friday by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The corporations are accused of violating consumer protection laws, as laid out in the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), by providing support to telemarketing companies trying to lure consumers into bogus debt-relief services.

The DoJ is committed to stopping individuals and companies from making illegal robocalls and peddling predatory debt-relief services,” said principal deputy assistant attorney general Brian Boynton, head of the DoJ’s Civil Division.

The complaint claims the telemarketers used pre-recorded marketing messages that failed to disclose the true identity of the seller.

The alleged robocalls were also made to numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry, and often used a telemarketing tactic known as “ringless voicemails,” which are delivered to a phone without it ringing.

“This case targets the ecosystem of companies who perpetrate illegal telemarketing to cheat American consumers who are struggling financially,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“The FTC will continue to take aggressive action to protect consumers from the scourge of illegal robocalls,” said Levine.

The DoJ is seeking a permanent injunction on all the defendants in an effort to prevent future violations, as well as monetary civil penalties in the millions.

The complaint names telecommunications service companies Stratics Networks and Netlatitude, along with the latter's president Kurt Hannigan. Others include Tek Ventures, Atlas Marketing Partners, and Atlas Investment Ventures.

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