CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Company that allegedly sent billions of robocalls sued by 49 attorneys general

May 24, 2023, 8:00 AM

A bipartisan coalition of 48 state attorneys general, plus the DC attorney general, sued Avid Telec...

A bipartisan coalition of 48 state attorneys general sued the company responsible for billions of illegal spam calls on May 23. (Anita Kot/ Moment RF/Getty Images via CNN)

(Anita Kot/ Moment RF/Getty Images via CNN)

Originally Published: 23 MAY 23 18:27 ET

(CNN) — A bipartisan coalition of 48 state attorneys general, plus the DC attorney general, sued Avid Telecom on Tuesday, alleging that the company is responsible for billions of illegal spam calls, including calls to the phone numbers on the Do Not Call Registry.

The state AGs claim that 90% of Avid’s 24.5 billion phone calls between December 2018 and January 2023 lasted just 15 seconds and that many of the calls impersonated law enforcement and government agencies. Other spoof calls purported to be from large corporations like Amazon or DirecTV to lure call recipients into scams.

“Robocalls are not only disruptive, unwelcome, and annoying. They result in scamming millions of consumers out of tens of billions of dollars every year. Avid Telecom was repeatedly notified to cease facilitating illegal, harmful robocalls but refused to take any preventive action,” Washington DC Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb said in a statement.

“We are proud to stand with our state AG colleagues in sending a message that illegal robocalling and consumer scamming will not be tolerated.”

Avid Telecom is a US-based company founded in 2001 that provides voice calls over the Internet, according to its website.

“Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, Avid Telecom operates in a manner that is compliant with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations,” the company said in a statement to CNN. “While the company always prefers to work with regulators and law enforcement to address issues of concern, as necessary, the company will defend itself vigorously and vindicate its rights and reputation through the legal process.”

The suit names Avid Telecom, its parent company Michael Lanskey LLC, and two company executives, Michael Lanskey and Stacey S. Reeves, in the lawsuit.

It isn’t the first time lawmakers have attempted to tackle unwanted automated calls. Over the past two years, the Federal Communications Commission has taken several steps to curb spam and robocalls including blocking another telecom company, Global UC, from accessing the US phone network.

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Company that allegedly sent billions of robocalls sued by 49 attorneys general