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Ohio AG sues robocall companies

Suit claims that Ohioans got 59 million calls about car warranties, health care

COLUMBUS — If you’ve recently noticed a sudden drop off in robocalls trying to extend your car’s warranty or a supposed health care worker wanting to talk to you, the reason maybe a lawsuit filed by the State of Ohio against a pair of Texas companies that specialize in making those calls.

On Tuesday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joined six other states in filing suit against a pair of Texas businesses accused of blasting billions of illegal robocalls, including over 59 million calls to Ohioans. Ohio has a population of just under 12 million.

The federal lawsuit alleges that Rising Eagle Capital Group LLC and JSquared Telecom LLC are behind a bombardment of robocalls offering extended car warranties and health care services. Yost’s new Robocall Enforcement Unit is handling Ohio’s portion of the case.

“Thanks to thousands of watchful Ohioans, we’re taking the fight to a source of these pestilent robocalls,” Yost said. “Every call you report represents an important piece of evidence that can help us build cases like this one. Keep ‘em coming.”

More than 70 complaints reported to the Robocall Enforcement Unit were tied to Rising Eagle and JSquared. John Spiller II, owner of the businesses, and his business partner, Jakob Mears, are also named in the lawsuit.

Evidence shows the defendants illegally engaged in caller ID spoofing in an effort to mislead and defraud victims. They also are accused of targeting phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry and of playing prerecorded messages without prior consent from call recipients.

Yost and attorneys general from Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas allege in their lawsuit that Rising Eagle and JSquared violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and state consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas, seeks civil penalties and a permanent injunction to stop the defendants from violating federal and state law.

Ohio is seeking to end calls from the two companies, or anyone that buys the companies in the future; pay Ohio $25,000 for each violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, pay civil penalties of $1,000 to $25,000 for each violation of the Telephone Solicitation Sales Act, and cost of the investigation and reasonable attorney fees.

In addition to the states’ case, the Federal Communications Commission today announced its own legal action against Rising Eagle, JSquared, Spiller and Mears.

Ohioans can report unwanted robocalls to the Robocall Enforcement Unit by texting “ROBO” to 888111, visiting OhioProtects.org or calling 1-800-282-0515.