The Federal Trade Commission is striking out against yet another major company that it says facilitates over 1 billion illegal robocalls every year, filing a federal complaint against automatic dialing platform TelWeb in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Gizmodo reports.
FTC Files Suit Against Robocall “Kingpins”
FTC prosecutors are going after James “Jamie” Christiano, owner of two companies, NetDotSolutions, Inc. and TeraMESH Networks, Inc., which provided services to a number of shell companies (all of which lead back to two men, Aaron Michael Jones and Andrew Salisbury, also named as defendants in the case, who hired Christiano in 2001 to write software that would allow them to place millions of robocalls).
Through his companies, Christiano offered software and server space to robocall outfits, the Federal Trade Commission claims, saying the man’s TelWeb service dealt almost exclusively in illegal robocalls.
“Jamie Christiano and his companies,” Space Coast Daily writes, “acted as a one-stop shop for illegal telemarketers, providing auto-dialing software, VoIP [voice over internet protocol] phone service, servers to host auto-dialing software, and space to house the servers.”
TelWeb Facilitated 1 Billion Illegal Calls Per Year, Prosecutors Say
FTC prosecutors say calls traced back to TelWeb have featured in at least 8 other federal robocall lawsuits. Prosecutors accuse Christiano of turning a blind eye to the way his TelWeb package of services was being used to place illegal robocalls.
TelWeb has been used for a variety of illegal practices, the FTC says, citing illegal prerecorded voice messages, caller ID spoofing (in which the caller’s identity is concealed or altered) and calling numbers that are on the National Do Not Call Registry – all violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that strictly governs the business practices of telemarketers.
Feds Dispute Christiano’s Claims Of Innocence
Christiano “strongly denies” any and all allegations of misconduct. In a statement reported by The Hill, he wrote,
“as a responsible provider of software for over two decades NetDotSolutions takes compliance seriously and has spent innumerable resources to ensure that it legally provides its software and services. NetDotSolutions and its president, Jamie Christiano, […] will vigorously defend themselves against allegations they assisted or facilitated misuse of the NetDotSolutions software or are somehow vicariously liable for the actions of others.”
FTC prosecutors aren’t buying that for a second. In their lawsuit, federal officials explain how TelWeb, the package of phone services provided by Christiano’s companies, eventually became a leading choice for illegal telemarketers around the world. Federal prosecutors also claim that Christiano, Salisbury and Jones intentionally created a universe of shell companies to distance themselves, and their primary businesses, from the illegal activity taking place on TelWeb.