NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has sued Michael D. Lansky, LLC, otherwise known as Avid Telecom, as well as the vice president Stacey S. Reeves, for allegedly initiating and facilitating billions of illegal robocalls to millions of people and violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws, his office announced.
The AG’s office says Avid Telecom sent or transmitted more than 7.5 billion calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry between December 2018 and January 2023—approximately 200 million of those calls to phone numbers in Tennessee.
“Everybody hates robocalls, especially when they are used to take advantage of our most vulnerable citizens,” Skrmetti said. “I appreciate the efforts of this bipartisan group to stop this relentless annoyance and protect Tennesseans from exploitative interruptions.”
According to the AG’s office, Avid Telecom is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that sells data, phone numbers, dialing software, and/or expertise to help its customers make mass robocalls. It also serves as an intermediate provider and and allegedly facilitated or helped route illegal robocalls across the country, the AG said. Between December 2018 and January 2023, Avid sent or attempted to transmit more than 24.5 billion calls. More than 90% of those calls lasted less than 15 seconds, which indicates they were likely robocalls. Further, Avid helped make hundreds of millions of calls using spoofed or invalid caller ID numbers, including more than 8.4 million calls that appeared to be coming from government and law enforcement agencies, as well as private companies.
The AG says Avid Telecom allegedly sent or transmitted scam calls about Social Security Administration scams, Medicare scams, auto warranty scams, Amazon scams, DirecTV scams, credit card interest rate reduction scams, and employment scams. Examples of some of those scams are available to listen to here and here.
Additionally, the AG’s office says the USTelecom-led Industry Traceback Group, which notifies providers about known and suspected illegal robocalls sent across their networks, sent at least 329 notifications to Avid Telecom that it was transmitting these calls, but Avid Telecom continued to do so after the warnings.
The legal action from Skrmetti’s office comes via the nationwide Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force of 51 bipartisan attorneys general. The task force is investigating and taking legal action against those responsible for routing significant volumes of illegal robocall traffic into and across the United States, along with assistance from the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General.
Tennessee is joined in the suit by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.