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Attorney General Nessel Secures Judgments Banning Robocall Offenders from Calling into Michigan
August 16, 2023
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel won judgments this week against Scott Shapiro, Michael Theron Smith Jr. and Health Advisors of America, Inc., all of Florida, for their roles in a massive robocall scheme that directed billions of illegal robocalls to people across the country. In 2019 alone, Michigan consumers were bombarded with more than 42 million robocalls tied to this scheme, including more than 19 million calls to people whose numbers were on the Do Not Call Registry. These legal victories, secured by permanent injunctions and monetary judgments in the United States District Court of Southern Texas, ensure Scott Shapiro, Michael Theron Smith, Jr., and Health Advisors of America can no longer make robocalls or work for or with companies that conduct robocalls into Michigan.
“These judgments will make a significant impact on the avalanche of robocalls Michigan residents have faced in recent years,” Nessel said. “With our Robocall Taskforce and our national efforts undertaken by my department we have been able to meaningfully hold bad actors accountable and stop some of these robocall perpetrators in their tracks. This is an important victory in our fight to protect consumers from these intrusive and often deceptive calls.”
AG Nessel sued the defendants as part of a larger case that began in 2020 against John Caldwell Spiller II and his business partner, Jakob Mears, the owners of Texas-based Rising Eagle Capital Group LLC and JSquared Telecom LLC, as well as Rising Eagle Capital Group–Cayman. The lawsuit alleged violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, and various state consumer protection laws.
The complaint alleged that Shapiro and Smith worked with Mears and Spiller to make illegal robocalls targeting people who never asked to be contacted by Health Advisors. In addition to the permanent robocall bans, the defendants are also banned for 10 years from engaging in telemarketing, lead generation, providing or selling telephone numbers, or calling numbers on the Do Not Call lists in Michigan. Shapiro is further banned for two years from engaging in these activities nationwide. The court ordered monetary judgments totaling $146,153,860 for Shapiro, Smith, and Health Advisors combined, though payments will be largely suspended in favor of the operational bans so long as the defendants continue to abide by the terms of the judgments.
The defendants must also present a copy of the judgment to all businesses and new customers with whom they conduct business for the next 10 years. These judgments resolve all ongoing litigation in this case.
AG Nessel is joined in these judgments by the Attorneys General of Arkansas, Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas.
Copies of the judgments are available here:
- Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment against Scott Shapiro
- Stipulated Order for Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment against Michael T. Smith and Health Advisors of America, Inc.