Man Accused Of Making Millions Of Robocalls Faces Biggest-Ever FCC Fine

The Federal Communications Commission said Thursday it proposed a $120 million fine against Adrian Abramovich.

Calls appeared to come from local numbers, but those who answered were prompted to "Press 1" to hear about vacation deals, according to the FCC.

The agency said Abramovich's companies made almost 97 million robocalls from October-December 2016, and were spewing out "mass-robocalling" operations in both 2015 and 2016. In the FCC's first action against a large-scale spoofing operation, the agency verified more than 80,000 calls during the last three months of 2016. Information is online at www.fcc.gov/spoofing, with the FCC also fielding complaints on a hotline at 888-225-5322.

"The calls ultimately connected Americans to call centers in Mexico that usually attempted to fleece innocent consumers out of their hard-earned money by promising too-good-to-be-true vacation deals", Adam Medros, a senior vice president at TripAdvisor, said in an emailed statement.

Indeed, the agency had help in uncovering Abramovich's operation from two companies directly impacted by the scam, according to documents filed by the FCC. Pai said the scheme preyed on the elderly, many of whom spent a few hundred or a few thousand dollars on "exclusive" vacation packages.

Officials say Adrian Abramovich auto-dialed hundreds of millions of phone calls to landlines and cellphones in the USA and Canada, and at one point even overwhelmed an emergency hospital paging service. In almost all cases, "Abramovich was the sole incorporator, officer, and director", the commission said. The agency's Enforcement Bureau has also issued a citation to Abramovich, and the documents say his "mass robocalling campaigns violate the Communications Act, and his misrepresentations in the prerecorded messages constitute criminal wire fraud".

The AP was not immediately able to reach Abramovich.

Medros said TripAdvisor is "proud to have worked in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission to protect millions of USA consumers who have been subjected to robocall marketing scams". The company said it worked closely with the FCC to investigate after its customers called to complain.

  • Zachary Reyes