LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel won judgments shutting down a massive robocall operation involving John Caldwell Spiller II and his business partner, Jakob Mears, the owners of Texas-based Rising Eagle Capital Group LLC and JSquared Telecom LLC, as well as Rising Eagle Capital Group, Cayman. The defendants directed billions of illegal robocalls to people across the country. In 2019 alone, the defendants bombarded Michigan consumers with more than 42 million robocalls – including more than 19 million calls to people whose numbers were on the Do Not Call Registry.
“The number of illegal robocalls Michigan residents receive is unacceptable,” Nessel said. “The National Consumer Law Center and the electronic Privacy Information Center estimate that over 33 million scam robocalls are made to Americans every day. And the businesses these defendants own were a big part of the problem. Permanently closing these businesses and preventing the owners from creating similar ones is an important step. I am happy to join my colleagues in protecting consumers from abusive telemarketing practices like illegal robocalls.”
AG Nessel sued the defendants in June 2020, alleging violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule, as well as various state consumer protection laws. The complaint alleged that defendants used their companies to bombard people with deceptive robocalls, including extended car warranties and health care services. They also spoofed calls to mislead the call recipients and called people on the Do Not Call list.
Mears and Spiller are now permanently banned from initiating or facilitating any robocalls, working in or with companies that make robocalls, or engaging in any telemarketing. The court also ordered monetary judgments totaling $244,658,640 for Spiller and Mears combined, though these payments will be largely suspended in favor of the permanent operational bans and because of their inability to pay.
AG Nessel’s legal action on this matter is not over. The attorneys general are continuing their cases in this same litigation against Florida-based Scott Shapiro, Michael Theron Smith, Jr., and Health Advisors of America, Inc. These defendants allegedly worked with Mears and Spiller to make illegal robocalls targeting people who never asked to be contacted by Health Advisors.
AG Nessel is joined in the settlements by the Attorneys General of Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and Texas.