|February 21, 2017
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Federal Trade Commission and nine other state attorneys general today announced the entry of the last consent judgment shutting down an illegal robocalling scheme used to sell Florida cruise line vacations. The unlawful telemarketing campaign flooded consumers from across the country with billions of unwanted robocalls, averaging 12 to 15 million illegal calls a day, and generated millions of dollars for the companies. The fifth and final consent judgment announced today bars owner Fred Accuardi and his companies from assisting or participating in actions that violate telemarketing laws.
In 2015, Attorney General Bondi, in partnership with the FTC and other state attorneys general, filed a lawsuit against Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc., a marketing company, as well as seven other companies, for alleged involvement in a scheme that used political survey robocalls to illegally sell cruise vacations. The joint complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The complaint alleged that the defendants’ robocalls violated both Florida and federal law by unlawfully using political surveys as a pretext to place sales calls pitching Bahamas cruises and related vacation packages to individuals on do-not-call lists and other individuals they were prohibited from calling.
Accuardi and his companies allegedly assisted and facilitated the illegal calls by providing robocallers with hundreds of telephone numbers. The defendants also allegedly made it possible for robocallers to change their caller identification information, funded a portion of the robocalling campaigns, and hid the robocallers’ identities from authorities.
In addition to barring Accuardi and his businesses from illegal telemarketing, the consent judgment announced today imposes a judgment of $1.35 million, which will be suspended after the defendants pay $2,500. If the court finds that the defendants misrepresented their financial condition, the entire judgment will become due.
Florida and the FTC led the joint action and were joined by attorneys general in nine other states: Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington.
This is just the latest action taken by Attorney General Bondi in partnership with the FTC to clamp down on illegal operations in Florida.
To view the consent judgment, click here.
To view the order approving the consent judgment, click here.
For more information about the actions, click here.
Consumers who receive robocall solicitations can report the calls to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling (866) 9 NO-SCAM or file a complaint by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.