On Wednesday, the Florida man behind over 96 million illegal robocalls told the U.S. Senate that he is not guilty. Last summer, Adrian Abramovich was fined $120 million for allegedly making nearly 100 million robocalls over just three months.
The federal agency that fined Abramovich, the Federal Communications Commission, found that he offered consumers phony “exclusive” vacation offerings from luxury hotels and other hospitality companies.
The FTC accused the serial robocaller of being the mastermind of “one of the largest — and most dangerous — illegal robocalling campaigns” in the nation’s history.
However, the alleged scammer denied any wrongdoing.
I am not the kingpin of robocalling that is alleged,
he told a group of Senators during the testimony.
Scammer Claims the Robocalls Were Legit
The man insisted that he was not guilty of any “fraudulent activities,” arguing that his telemarketing practices are “legitimate” while the vacation deals are “real.” When the Senate Commerce Committee tried to ask him some questions, he refused to give the answers, citing his Fifth Amendment right.
The panel’s chair Sen. John Thune replied that he gave up that right the moment he offered some details on his case during the congressional hearing. Refusing to answer Senators’ questions could led to contempt charges, Thune threatened.
In the U.S., around 2.5 billion robocalls are made every month. Around 200,000 consumers are contacting the FCC to complain about unwanted calls every year. In 2016, the agency got more than 5 million complaints about possibly illegal robocalls.
In an interview last year, FCC’s head Ajit Pai noted that “Americans are mad as hell” over these telemarketing practices, which seem to get more and more aggressive.
Last fall, the FCC issued new regulations to shield Americans against the “scourge” of robocalls, but Congress thinks it should do more.
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