DOJ files complaint seeking $9.9M FCC penalty from man for 'malicious' spoofed robocalls

DOJ files complaint seeking $9.9M FCC penalty from man for 'malicious' spoofed robocalls
·2 min read

The Justice Department is taking legal action to force a man to pay a $9.9 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission for nearly 5,000 “malicious” robocalls.

The Civil Division served the complaint in federal court on Wednesday after the FCC imposed the fine in January and said that if he didn’t pay within 30 days, it would recommend the matter to the DOJ.


Scott Rhodes, 53, of Libby, Montana, was allegedly behind spoofed robocalls that targeted communities in at least eight states since 2017. He is accused of making 4,959 illegal robocalls with falsified caller ID information with the intent to cause harm, the DOJ said. Spoofing, or creating a fake caller identification so that it appears local to the area the call is received, is illegal under federal law.

The content of these calls was often racist and antisemitic, according to an FCC investigation.

Rhodes allegedly targeted Brooklyn, Iowa, after a local woman, Mollie Tibbetts, was murdered by an illegal immigrant whom the messages called “biological hybrid of white and savage Aztec ancestors” and said if the woman came back to life she would want people to “kill them all.”

Two thousand of the calls targeted Charlottesville, Virginia, during the investigation into the man who drove a car into a crowd at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, killing a woman. These messages allegedly blamed the “Jew mayor” and “negro police chief” for the “unhealthy, morbidly obese” victim’s death.

“We’re no longer going to tolerate a Jewish lying press, and Jew corruption of an American legal system,” the Charlottesville message stated.

The robocalls also targeted Sen. Diane Feinstein's California district when she was up for reelection, allegedly calling her a “traitorous Jew” and urging residents to “relocate to North Idaho, where very white is very right.”


The FCC investigation found Rhodes allegedly sent 34,000 calls in 2018 alone, 5,000 of which were illegal because they were linked to fraudulent numbers.

“It is unlawful to spoof caller ID numbers to trick consumers into answering unwanted phone calls with the intent to defraud, cause harm or wrongfully obtain anything of value,” said Brian Boynton, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

In response to the FCC's findings, Rhodes slammed what he said was a "politically motivated gross overreach of FCC authority," according to ABC News.

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Tags: News, FCC, DOJ, Racism, Jewish, Virginia

Original Author: Virginia Aabram

Original Location: DOJ files complaint seeking $9.9M FCC penalty from man for 'malicious' spoofed robocalls

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