Washington D.C.- The Federal Communications Commission fined a man from Sandpoint nearly $10 Million Dollars for illegally using caller ID spoofing with the intent to cause harm.
Scott Rhodes was a resident of Sandpoint at the time, made calls including xenophobic fearmongering , racist attacks on political candidates, an apparent attempt to influence the jury in a domestic terrorism case, and threatening language toward a local journalist.
“The law is clear: spoofed caller ID robocalls used with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or cheat recipients is unlawful. And the American people are sick and tired of it. In this instance, not only were the calls unlawful, but the caller took them to new levels of egregiousness,” said Former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a press release.
“With today’s fine, we once again make clear our commitment to aggressively go after those who are unlawfully bombarding the American people with spoofed robocalls." Pai added.
Rhodes robocalled residents of the city of Sandpoint, attacking the local newspaper and its publisher after they reported the identity of the caller.
In Virginia, Rhodes made spoofed robocalls to residents of Charlottesville based on a false conspiracy theory in an apparent attempt to influence the jury in the murder trial of James Fields, prompting the judge to explicitly instruct the jury pool to ignore the calls.
The total fine was $9,918,000, and Rhodes has thirty days to pay the fine. Should it not be paid within 30 days, the Commission will refer the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice for further action.