Earlier this week, the FTC and the attorneys general of 10 states finalized a settlement order against Fred Accuardi and several of his companies accused of making billions of illegal robocalls (or up to 15 million calls per day).
Between October 2011 and July 2012, Accuardi allegedly oversaw robocall marketing campaigns masked as political surveys. In reality, the intent of the calls was to upsell vacation cruise packages after offering them a free two-day cruises at the end the survey call.
The complaint charges that the offers were misleading, as various costly add-ons were required to actually get a cruise. Accuardi worked with various cruise lines on these campaigns, many of whom have already reached settlements with the FTC and attorneys general. The complaint also charges that Accuardi altered the information that appeared on consumers' caller ID devices and concealed robocallers' identities from authorities.
The settlement order bars Accuardi from:
1. initiating, or causing anyone else to initiate, robocalls
2. engaging in illegal telemarketing practices
The $1.35 million fine in the order will be reduced to $2,500, as long as the defendants are honest about their financial condition.