May 24, 2023
Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, representing the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, sued Avid Telecom, its owner Michael D. Lansky, and Vice President Stacey S. Reeves today for allegedly initiating and facilitating billions of illegal robocalls to millions of people and violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws. Avid Telecom sent or transmitted more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry between December 2018 and January 2023 – more than 72 million of which went to numbers in Utah.
Attorney General Reyes said: “Robocalls are far more than a mere nuisance. Many of them are financial threats to citizens in Utah and nationwide. Our office has worked closely with the Division of Consumer Protection and other state attorneys general for years to fight these scammers and protect Americans.
AG Reyes continued: “Avid Telecom blatantly and wantonly broke the law to facilitate scams about Social Security, Medicare, Amazon, car warranties, credit card interest reduction, and more. Avid and its corporate officers generated more than 20 billion calls in just over four years, with 7.5 billion made to numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
“Avid was warned repeatedly to halt its illegal actions but greedily continued to profit off of innocent victims while acting like it was above the law. Avid needs to be held accountable by Utah, and so many of our sister states across America,” AG Reyes said.
Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software, and/or expertise to help customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider and allegedly facilitated or helped route illegal robocalls nationwide. Between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid sent or attempted to transmit more than 24.5 billion calls. More than 90 percent of those calls lasted less than 15 seconds, indicating they were likely robocalls. Further, Avid helped make hundreds of millions of calls using spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and private companies.
Avid Telecom allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls about Social Security Administration scams, Medicare scams, auto warranty scams, Amazon scams, DirecTV scams, credit card interest rate reduction scams, and employment scams. Examples of some of these scam calls are available to listen to here and here.
The USTelecom-led Industry Traceback Group, which notifies providers about known and suspected illegal robocalls sent across their networks, sent at least 329 notifications to Avid Telecom that it was transmitting these calls, but Avid Telecom continued to do so.
Today’s legal action comes from the nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 bipartisan attorneys general. The task force is investigating and taking legal action against those responsible for routing significant volumes of illegal robocall traffic into and across the United States. The Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General provided investigative assistance.
Attorney General Reyes is joined in filing today’s complaint by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Read the lawsuit here.