The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against a telemarketing operation that allegedly made illegal robocalls, called phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, and masked Caller ID information, in violation of the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule. The FTC's complaint seeks to make the defendants pay civil penalties and stop the illegal calls. The action is part of the Commission's ongoing efforts to crack down on illegal pre-recorded robocalls, which in this case generated tens of thousands of complaints from consumers.
According to the FTC's complaint, Roy M. Cox, Jr. and several companies he controls made robocalls for clients selling credit card interest rate reduction programs, extended automobile warranties, and home security systems. Cox resides in California but runs his allegedly illegal operation through multiple foreign corporations purportedly in countries such as Panama, Hungary, Argentina, and the Republic of Seychelles. The complaint alleges that the defendants failed to transmit their name or the names of their clients on caller ID displays, as required by law. Instead, they allegedly sought to hide their identity by using generic, inaccurate names such as "CARD SERVICES," "CREDIT SERVICES," or "PRIVATE OFFICE."
The FTC also alleged that Cox and his companies knew, or consciously avoided knowing, that they called phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, and that they made pre-recorded marketing calls to consumers who had not provided their written consent. An FTC rule prohibits pre-recorded commercial telemarketing calls to consumers unless the telemarketer has obtained their written permission.
Cox's co-defendants are Castle Rock Capital Management Inc., Castle Rock Capital Management S.A., Capital Solutions Group S.A., Transfers Argentina S.A., Public Service, and Marketing Strategy Group.
The Department of Justice filed the complaint on behalf of the Commission in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on December 12, 2011. The Commission vote to refer the complaint to the DOJ for filing was 5-0.
NOTE: The Commission refers a complaint to the DOJ for filing when it has "reason to believe" that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
(FTC File Nos. 0923193, 1123060)
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