Nearly every state and D.C. sue telecom company over billions of robocalls

Attorneys general of nearly every state in the United States filed a petition. Trial Tuesday against Avid Telecom, a company accused of making more than 7.5 billion. Robocalls To people on the National Do Not Call Registry. Attorneys general of every state except the District of Columbia and Alaska and South Dakota are acting as plaintiffs.

The attorney general is also suing Avide Telecom owner Michael Lenski and company vice president Stacey Reeves. According to the complaint, Avid Telecom received more than 320 reports of illegal robocalls before filing suit.

The lawsuit alleges that “Defendants chose to profit over operating a business that complied with state and federal law.” “Defendants could have chosen to implement effective and meaningful procedures to prevent — or even significantly mitigate — the commission of illegal conduct on and within Avid Telecom’s network,” the lawsuit states. could have, but chose not to,”

Neil Ende, external legal counsel for Avid Telecom, said the company is disappointed that the attorney general did not address its concerns directly before filing the lawsuit.

“While the Company always prefers to work with regulators and law enforcement agencies to resolve issues of concern, as necessary, the Company will vigorously defend itself and the legal process,” Ende said. will vindicate its rights and reputation through

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, where Avid Telecom is based. Arizona Attorney General Chris Mays said that approximately 197 million robocalls allegedly initiated and facilitated by Avid Telecom were made to Arizona phone numbers between December 2018 and January 2023. .

“Every day, countless Arizona consumers are harassed and annoyed by a constant barrage of unwanted robocalls — and in some cases these illegal calls threaten consumers with lawsuits and arrest,” Mayes said in a statement. said in a press release. “More disturbingly, many of these calls are scams that pressure scared consumers, often senior citizens, to hand over their hard-earned money.”

Illegal robocalls are the most common method of contact for fraudsters, according to the suit. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2022, phone scams cost an average of $1,400 per person.

The attorney general alleges that the company allegedly helped make millions of calls using fake or false caller ID numbers. More than 8.4 million calls were coming from government and law enforcement agencies.

According to the suit, Avid Telecom sells data, phone numbers, dialing software and expertise to help its customers make large-scale robocalls. The company provides direct inward dialing to its customers, which allows callers to spoof their area codes to match those of their recipients. This practice increases the odds of the recipient picking up the phone.

“Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, Avid Telecom operates in a manner that complies with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations,” Ande said. “The company has never been found by a court or regulatory authority to have illegally transferred traffic and is ready to meet with the Attorney General, as it has done on several occasions in the past, further demonstrating its good faith and legal conduct.” What is it.”

According to the lawsuit, Avid Telecom allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls about the Social Security Administration, Medicare. Auto warrantyAmazon, DirecTV, credit card interest rate cuts, and employment.

Elderly and vulnerable users Millions have been defrauded by these illegal robocalls,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a press release.

The case is the result of a nationwide, bipartisan Anti-Robbery Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 attorneys general. It was formed last year.

In Tuesday’s suit, the attorney general seeks a jury trial, temporary and permanent injunctive relief, the imposition of civil penalties, compensatory damages, an award of attorney’s fees and costs, and other statutory, statutory, or equitable relief.

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