The Federal Communications Commission will hit one robocalling operation with a $116 million fine. 

Nearly 10 million robocalls were made to generate toll-free dialing fees for the robocaller between January 1, 2021, and March 2, 2021. Thomas  Dorsher and his company, ChariTel Inc, apparently made 9,763,599 prerecorded voice message calls to toll-free numbers, the agency reported. 

The FCC proposed a $116,156,250 fine. 
According to the FCC, the law expressly prohibits robocalls – even non-commercial calls – made to any service for which the called party is charged for the call unless the caller has prior express consent or an emergency purpose. 

Businesses reported to the FCC of receiving unsolicited prerecorded voice message calls, referencing an entity called “ScammerBlaster”. The prerecorded messages mentioned the harms associated with scam calls and directed the recipient to report such calls to government regulators, telephone carriers, and “ScammerBlaster,” an entity that Dorsher controls. 

“This fine is big,” said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement accompanying the fine’s announcement. “But it also calls attention to the fact that we need new rules of the game. We have issued many fines just like this one. But after we do, we have to hand them over to our colleagues at the Department and Justice and hope for further action.”

The Industry Traceback Group traced the calls back to Dorsher and his company. According to the FCC, Dorsher apparently targeted toll-free numbers specifically with his robocalls because he received financial compensation for every call. 

These types of attacks are highly hazardous as they disable telephone networks and can disrupt critical emergency services, according to FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. 

“Dorsher has not only acknowledged that he made these robocalls to fund his other illegal behavior, but, when confronted by those affected by these robocalls, Dorsher threatened them, reasoning that he was beyond the reach of the law. His blatant disregard for the welfare of consumers on top of his illegal activities justifies the significant fine we adopt today” Starks said in an attached statement.

The FCC is investigating robocall operations by issuing cease and disease and coordinating a national resource-sharing group with 41 state attorney generals to fight illegal robocalls.

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