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The head of an operation that enabled telemarketers to make illegal robocalls, call phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, and mask Caller ID information, is permanently banned from telemarketing and robocalling under a settlement with the federal government.

In November 2011, on the Federal Trade Commission’s behalf, the Department of Justice filed a complaint alleging that Joseph Turpel sold services to telemarketers who were violating the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule.  The complaint alleged that Turpel knew, or consciously avoided knowing, that clients used his services while calling numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, transmitting inaccurate caller ID information, and making illegal prerecorded telemarketing solicitations (robocalls).

According to the complaint, Turpel’s clients offered credit card services, home security systems, and grant procurement programs. He allegedly gave clients the means to hide their identity by transmitting inaccurate caller names, such as “SERVICE MESSAGE” or “SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT,” on caller ID displays.

In addition to banning Turpel from telemarketing and robocalling, the settlement order imposes a $395,000 civil penalty that is suspended based on his inability to pay. The full penalty will become due immediately if Turpel is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.

The Commission vote authorizing DOJ staff to file the proposed  stipulated final order was 4-0. The final order was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on April 15, 2014.

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, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs

James Davis
FTC’s Midwest Region