BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Attorney General Drew Wrigley has announced judgments shutting down an operation that bombarded the United States with billions of robocalls — including millions in North Dakota.
According to a news release from Wrigley’s office, John Caldwell Spiller II and his business partner Jakob Mears (owners of Texas-based Rising Eagle Capital Group LLC, JSquared Telecom LLC, and Rising Eagle Capital Group Cayman) violated North Dakota’s ‘do not call’ laws in 2019 and 2020, as well as Federal laws such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Telemarketing Sales Rule. This statement was echoed by the Attorney Generals of other states (Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas), who noted that they had violated other state consumer protection laws.
The joint complaint alleged that the defendants used their companies to bombard people across the US with robocalls about a variety of scams, particularly those involving extended car warranties and health care services, as well as spoofed calls to mislead people and called individuals on the Do Not Call list. Wrigley himself noted that telephone subscribers frequently contact his office to complain about these calls.
“These calls hammer our landlines and cell phones, invading our peace and enjoyment, and constantly interrupt and annoy us at the most inconvenient times,” said Wrigley in the release. “These solicitations are illegal, and we are pleased to have taken these particular actors out of the robocalling game, making them accountable and giving our residents some much-welcomed relief.”
Mears and Spiller have been sentenced to pay monetary fees totaling $244,658,640 — however, these will be mostly suspended in favor of permanent operational bans due to their inability to pay.
“While these legal enforcement actions won’t stop all robocalls, they will significantly change the landscape by shutting down these defendants who made billions of calls throughout the country,” Wrigley continued.
While the duo has been sentenced and banned from continuing their operations, Wrigley also says that the matter is not over. The attorney general and others are continuing their litigation against other groups who worked with Mears and Spiller to make illegal robocalls targeting North Dakotans without permission — particularly Florida-based individuals Scott Shapiro, Michael Theron Smith Jr., and Health Advisors of America, Inc.