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AG Nessel Sues Avid Telecom Over Illegal Robocalls
May 23, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is suing Michael D. Lansky, LLC, which does business under the name Avid Telecom, its owner Michael Lansky, and its vice president, Stacey S. Reeves, 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 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 – approximately 195,332,233 million of those calls were to numbers in Michigan.
“In 2021, Michigan residents received more than 1.2 billion robocalls, about 500 million of which were scam robocalls,” Nessel said. “This lawsuit will hold accountable businesses and business owners who knowingly route illegal robocalls through their networks, as well as provide consumers with some relief from these intrusive calls.”
Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software, and/or expertise to help its customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider and allegedly facilitated or helped route illegal robocalls across the country. 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 just 15 seconds, which indicates 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 and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies.
Avid Telecom allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls perpetuating Social Security Administration scams, Medicare scams, auto warranty scams, Amazon scams, DirecTV scams, credit card interest rate reduction scams, and employment scams.
The US Telecom-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. AG Nessel has already sued one of Avid Telecom’s customers in Texas federal court. Avid Telecom helped that customer send more than four billion robocalls between May 2019 and March 2021.
Today’s legal action arises 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 in this matter.
AG Nessel is joined in filing the complaint by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, 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, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
A copy of the complaint is available here.