Under a bill Congress passed in 2019, spammers can be fined up to $10,000 for a single robocall. The fine handed out to two Texas-based telemarketers Wednesday worked out to less than 5 cents per robocall, but it was still a new record for the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC says John Spiller and Jakob Mears, who operated under business names including Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom, have been fined a record $225 million for sending out around a billion automated calls falsely offering affordable short-term health insurance plans from major companies, KHOU reports.
Officials say Spiller admitted sending out millions of calls a day and said he targeted people registered on Do Not Call lists because he thought it would be more profitable. He also admitted using spoofed numbers, the FCC says. The fine is part of a wider FCC effort to crack down on robocalls, CNBC reports. Officials announced Wednesday that a new Robocall Response Team has been formed with 51 FCC employees who will coordinate anti-robocall efforts with other federal agencies. (Read more robocalls stories.)