A settlement agreement with the FTC includes a lifetime ban from telemarketing for defendant Roy M. Cox, Jr., whom the agency said designed illegal robocall operations for a variety of products and services, including credit card interest rate reduction programs, extended automobile warranties, and home security systems.

Cox and several related companies were charged in December 2011 with violations of the FTC Act by failing to transmit the correct name on consumers’ caller ID displays. Instead of showing the name of Cox’s client, a caller ID would display more generic titles like “CARD SERVICES,” “CREDIT SERVICES,” or “PRIVATE OFFICE.”

In addition, the agency alleged that the defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule and that they knew, or consciously avoided knowing, that they called numbers registered on the Do Not Call Registry and made robocalls without written consent from consumers.

Although based in California, Cox operated his scheme by creating foreign corporations around the globe, in countries like Argentina, Hungary, Panama, and the Republic of Seychelles.

In a stipulated judgment and order entered in California federal court, Cox agreed that “whether acting directly or through any person, trust, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, subsidiary, division, or other device; or any of them, [he] is hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from telemarketing or assisting others engaged in telemarketing.”

The settlement order also imposes a $1.1 million civil penalty that will be suspended if Cox can submit documents demonstrating his inability to pay that amount.

To read the complaint in U.S. v. Cox, click here.

To read the stipulated judgment and order in the case, click here.

Why it matters:  The FTC noted that the case stemmed from its continuing efforts to crack down on illegal robocalls.  Tens of thousands of complaints were received about Cox and his corporate co-defendants, the agency added.  Companies that use robocalls – pre-recorded messages placed by an autodialer – must have consumer consent to place such calls or risk regulatory enforcement actions, or costly class action suits.