Local News

Wilmington man faces proposed $82M fine from FCC for illegal robocalls

Posted August 4

Robocalls

— A Wilmington man is facing a proposed $82 million fine for allegedly making more than 21 million illegally spoofed robocalls through a health insurance telemarketing company.

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed the $82,106,000 fine against Philip Roesel for violating the Truth in Caller ID Act. The law prohibits callers from deliberately falsifying caller ID information to hide their identities with intent to harm, defraud or wrongfully obtain anything of value, according to the FCC.

The practice of hiding a caller ID is called spoofing.

In a news release, the FCC said Roesel, the owner of Best Insurance Contracts, apparently made millions of robocalls to consumers around the country. The FCC said Roesel displayed false caller ID information in an effort to sell health insurance, "which especially targeted vulnerable consumers, including the elderly, the infirm, and low-income families."

The FCC was alerted to the calls when another company complained in Dec. 2016 that the robocalls were disrupting its network. The FCC then subpoenaed Roesel's call records from Oct. 2016 through Jan. 2017 and verified more than 82,000 health insurance telemarketing calls used falsified caller ID information.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Roesel was responsible for more than 200,000 robocalls a day over that time period, which totaled 21.5 million calls.

"Bad stuff, as far as it goes," Pai said in the statement. "Perhaps worse is the gall he evidently paired with his gumption. The record shows that he instructed his employees which consumers to pick on: 'The dumber and more broke the better.' He was even quoted as repeatedly bragging and 'joking' to co-workers that his actions were minor legal violations, akin to driving above the speed limit."

9 Comments

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  • Shannon Robbins Aug 4, 12:07 p.m.
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    Throw the book at him . . . and all of his kind.

  • Jon Smith Aug 4, 11:34 a.m.
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    Looking at this a bit...this guy had referral link to salesdialers.com ...these are the type of guys the FCC needs to go after...they brag about how their "prospect lists" are not DNC (do not call) screened "it is up to you to comply"...wink/wink nudge/nudge.

  • Jon Smith Aug 4, 10:46 a.m.
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    I agree he won't pay the fine and he needs to do jail time. Let the inmates know his crime (they would probably treat him worse than a pedophile). If he doesn't do jail time, he'll cockroach somewhere else and start this all over again.
    I wonder how many of these a-holes are based in the US? I'm sure there is high employee turnover, give them rewards for whistle-blowing and see if that brings in more of them.

  • Kerry Harpe Aug 4, 9:48 a.m.
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    The FCC doesn't have the correct software installed to automatically trace back to the source when someone like this a-hole is spoofing numbers. So, placing 1 phone number on the no-call list does nothing. The only reason this pos was caught is a business complained due to the volume of calls they were receiving. The FCC desperately needs to upgrade their software, and then start fining these clowns every time they break the law.

  • Linda Tally Aug 4, 9:14 a.m.
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    Would like this guy to face prison time for the fines he won't have the money to pay. THIS calls for debtor's prison.

  • Jim Frei Aug 4, 9:13 a.m.
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    Unless the number shows as a friend or client in my contact list, I don't answer. If its that important, they'll leave a msg.

  • Ken Ackerman Aug 4, 8:06 a.m.
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    I want the FCC to get more J@rks like this!!! I get a minimum of four a day with spoofed Caller ID. When the Caller ID says "Town of Cary", you answer, they start talking about interest rates...

    I HATE these j@rks.

  • Elle Emoh Aug 4, 7:46 a.m.
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    If ever a crime called for stoning, this is it. I have more blocked robo numbers on my phone than I have legitimate numbers. It's non-stop harassment.

  • Phillip Mozingo Aug 4, 7:44 a.m.
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    I wonder how many of the harassing phone calls I received came from this nut?