Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom with $225M Robocall Fine
March 19, 2021
Federal Communications Commission fined Texas-based telemarketers $225
million—the largest fine in FCC history—for transmitting approximately 1 billion
robocalls, many of them illegally spoofed, to sell short-term, limited-duration
health insurance plans. The robocalls falsely claimed to offer health insurance
plans from well-known health insurance companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield
John C. Spiller and Jakob A. Mears, who used business names including Rising
Eagle and JSquared Telecom, transmitted the spoofed robocalls across the country
during the first four-and-a-half months of 2019. Mr. Spiller admitted to the
USTelecom Industry Traceback Group that he made millions of spoofed calls per
day and knowingly called consumers on the Do Not Call list as he believed that
it was more profitable to target these consumers. Rising Eagle made the calls on
behalf of clients, the largest of which, Health Advisors of America, was sued by
the Missouri Attorney General for telemarketing violations in February 2019.
in 2018, there was an increase in consumer complaints and robocall traffic
related to health insurance and other health care products, with approximately
23.6 million health insurance robocalls crossing the networks of the four
largest wireless carriers each day. Rising Eagle originated a large portion of
this unwelcome robocall traffic.
The Truth in Caller ID Act prohibits manipulating caller ID information with the
intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. The FCC’s
investigation found that the Rising Eagle spoofed its robocalls to deceive
consumers and caused at least one company whose caller IDs were spoofed to
become overwhelmed with angry call-backs from aggrieved consumers.
Action by the Commission March 17, 2021 by Forfeiture Order (FCC 21-35). Acting
Chairwoman Rosenworcel, Commissioners Carr, Starks, and Simington approving.
Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Commissioner Simington issuing separate