HUGE PENALTY FOR ILLEGAL SPOOFING: FCC Hits California Telemarketer with almost $10 Million Fine Over Spoofed Political Ad in California Primary
The election is over. The fallout from the last one isn’t.
The FCC recently issued a nearly $10,000,000 fine against San Diego telemarketer Kenneth Moser, dba Marketing Support Systems. In late May 2018, on the eve of a contentious primary, Mr. Moser made 47,610 prerecorded voice message calls to residents of the California 76th State Assembly District in San Diego. Mr. Moser defamed Philip Graham, one of eight candidates for the open State Assembly seat. To do so, he repeated already disproven allegations against Mr. Graham about a sexual assault that never occurred. The message implored primary voters: “We do not need any more creeps in Sacramento.”
Mr. Moser spoofed the number, using the phone number of a competitor that, according to the FCC, Mr. Moser “has a long and contentious relationship with.” The FCC emphasized that it based its fine Mr. Moser’s decision to spoof its competitor’s number.
The FCC rejected Mr. Moser’s arguments against the fine, clarifying that the steep fine “does not hinge on the truthfulness or factual accuracy of the prerecorded message or Moser’s knowledge thereof.” The FCC also rejected Mr. Moser’s argument that the fine violated his constitutional due process rights. According to the FCC, Mr. Moser received sufficient notice and an opportunity to respond.
Mr. Moser must pay the fine thirty days from the FCC’s November 18 Order.