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Court Shuts Down Firms Behind Millions of Robocalls

Owners are out of the robocall business for good
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2020 3:28 PM CDT

(Newser) – You may not have heard of Nicholas and Natasha Palumbo, but chances are they're responsible for annoying you at some point. The Justice Department says the Arizona couple and two companies they own have been permanently banned from sending robocalls to any American phone numbers or providing any other entity with US numbers, the Hill reports. Federal investigators say the Palumbos and their companies, Ecommerce National LLC and SIP Retail, were "gateway" carriers that knowingly facilitated hundreds of millions of robocalls from overseas call centers seeking to scam Americans. Millions of the prerecorded calls were from scammers who claimed to be from the Social Security Administration and told the recipient they would face arrest if they didn't transfer funds.

The federal court order also banned the couple from working for any entity involved in robocalling. The Justice Department says the Palumbos continued to operate their telecoms businesses despite repeated warnings that they were facilitating fraud.through foreign-based Internet calls. "Everybody should be really happy to see the Palumbo case because it’s the Justice Department treating carriers that don’t actively try to stop fraud as being part of the fraud,” Alex Quilici, founder of robocall blocking firm YouMail, told the Arizona Republic earlier this year. "It should stop the worst of these calls from getting through over time." The Palumbos haven't been ordered to pay a fine or pay restitution to fraud victims, many of them elderly, though they are facing numerous civil court claims related to the scams. (Congress passed a crackdown on robocalls last year.)

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