"Abramovich is the perpetrator of one of the largest - and most risky - illegal robocalling campaigns that the Commission has ever investigated", the FCC said in June, when it handed down its citation against him.
The FCC cracked down on a robocall operation by fining its organizer $120 million. However, the FCC alluded to - and soundly rejected - his legal response to the FCC charges, in which Abramovich claimed he did not mean to cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value.
Abramovich, meanwhile, had mounted an opposition to the proposed fine, arguing the massive bill was unconstitutional and denying any wrongdoing. He actually caused harm. During the past two years, the FCC has received 4.5 million complaints about chatbot calls.
The calls used caller ID "spoofing" that mimicks the first six digits of the recipient's phone number, a practice dubbed "neighbor spoofing", the complaint added.
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The calls purported to be from well-known travel or hospitality companies like Marriott, Expedia, Hilton, and TripAdvisor, the FCC said. Those who did were transferred to foreign call centers where live operators attempted to sell vacation packages-often involving timeshares-at destinations unrelated to the named travel or hospitality companies. "Or ask Spōk, a Virginia-based medical paging service whose emergency communications services were disrupted by a flood of robocalls attributed to Mr. Abramovich's companies", Pai said.
In southern New Jersey, Tony Novak is frustrated with multiple robocalls a day, many appearing to come from his own area code.
It is not clear from the FCC's citation how Abramovich got the numbers that were targets of the robocalls.
Abramovich's Senate testimony explained why. "There are websites right now. that offer volume pricing for using their robocalling system that can handle millions of calls".
Kristi Thompson of the FCC says, "Abramovich was engaged in the single largest, malicious, illegal, spoofed robocall campaign that the FCC has ever investigated, and the scale is really off the charts".