Montana Men Fined $ 9.9 Million For Racist Robocall

LIBBY, Monday (CBS)

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it was seeking $ 9.9 million from a Montana man who allegedly made nearly 5,000 robocalls. Many were xenophobic, racist, and threatening.

A huge fine was first imposed by the Federal Communications Commission on January 14th. Officials said at the time, 52-year-old Scott Rhodes from Libby, Montana, launched a “harmful pre-recorded message” to target specific communities. In 2017.

“Robocall has fears of expulsion of foreigners (including the victim’s family), racist attacks on political candidates, obvious attempts to affect the jury in domestic terrorist incidents, and against local journalists. It contained threatening words, “said the FCC in January.

The Justice Department said hundreds of phones targeted people in Brooklyn, Iowa, after the murder of local college student Mollie Tibbetts. Rhodes told people that he had been killed by a “biological hybrid of whites and barbaric Aztec ancestors,” and if she “if she could revive for just a moment,” she would “kill them” to the person Rhodes was called. I told him I would ask him. all. “

According to officials, the 2017 “Unite the Unite the Unite the Unite the Unite the Unite the Right” rally. The DOJ used fat and shameful words about women killed during the rally, including anti-Semitic and racist messages about the city’s Jewish mayor and black police chief. He said he did.

In a statement, Brian Boynton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Justice for the Department of Justice, said in a statement, “Consumers for the purpose of fraudulently, harming or fraudulently obtaining something of value by disguising their caller ID. It is illegal to trick people into answering unwanted calls. ” “This department will work with our agency partners to proactively enforce telemarketing legislation that bans these practices.”

The DOJ said the criminal accusation was to regain the fine issued by the FCC and “get an injunction to prevent Rhodes from committing further violations of the truth of the Caller ID Act.”

Rhodes used an online calling platform that manipulated caller ID information to make people look like they were calling from a local number. According to the FCC, this is a method called “neighborhood spoofing.” In addition to wanting to do harm, the FCC said Rhodes “wants to get media notoriety and publicity on his website and personal brand.”

The FCC said in a confiscation order that Mr. Rhodes advertised an organization called the “Road to Power” as part of the call.With a message of harassment, they said he led people to real websites.

The entity is believed to have paid for a racist call to Florida Democratic Governor Andrew Gillum in 2018. “The Road to Power” also acknowledges the work of anti-Semitic Robocall targeting Democratic US Congressman Mark DeSornia earlier that year.

According to the FCC, a year after Rhodes received the notice of apparent liability, a confiscation order was issued, giving him the opportunity to challenge the allegations. In Rhodes’ response, he said the notice represented a “significant political motivational overshoot of the FCC authorities,” indicating “corruption” of “minority groups” within the Commission. The FCC report shows.

The Commission was not convinced of much of Rhodes’s argument, but said he was persuaded by his right to use one of the many caller IDs used during his series of Robocalls. Given that right, they said they reduced his initial confiscation from $ 12.9 million. He had 30 days to pay that amount, and what he didn’t do prompted the Department of Justice’s involvement.

Montana Men Fined $ 9.9 Million For Racist Robocall

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