Scottsdale Couple Accused Of Making Millions Of Fraudulent Robocalls

By Tom Maxedon, Mark Brodie
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 5:58pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2020 - 12:28pm

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The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday filed civil actions against the owners of businesses allegedly responsible for making hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls.

Two of the three defendants are from the Valley.

The calls include pre-recorded messages from phony Social Security representatives, for example.

Nicholas and Natasha Palumbo of Scottsdale — who own Ecommerce National LLC, dba TollFreeDeals.com and SIP Retail, dba sipretail.co — are allegedly responsible for hundreds of millions of similar robocalls largely originating from India.

Gus Eyler, acting director of the DOJ’s consumer protection branch said, “International organizations that are placing the calls are customers of these gateway carriers, have contracts with them and pay for the ability to transmit the calls through the gateway carriers and into the U.S. telecommunications system.”  

The court filing alleges that the Palumbo’s business carried 720 million calls during a sample 23-day period, and that more than half of those lasted less than one second.

The pre-recorded calls are transmitted through the internet to prospective victims. 

Richard Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the court filings are specific.

“The court directs them to stop committing wire fraud. AT&T and other U.S. telecom partners have advised them and they know from their own data that these calls that they’re passing are in fact fraudulent calls," Donoghue said. 

Justice Department officials said surprisingly little computer equipment is needed as the businesses operate out of residential addresses and use the Internet to transmit the fraudulent calls.

According to a DOJ release, "The defendants in the other case include Global Voicecom Inc., Global Telecommunication Services Inc., KAT Telecom Inc., aka IP Dish, and their owner/operator, Jon Kahen, 45, of Great Neck, New York."    

Robocalls increased by 35% percent in 2019, and perpetrators separated nearly $11 billion from victims in the same year. Calls like these were drastically reduced in 2003 with the National Do Not Call Registry — a list that people could voluntarily add their name to that would prevent telemarketers and robocalls from calling them.

The program worked for years — until it didn’t.. 

Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail, an online service that monitors and blocks unwanted phone calls, joined The Show to discuss the increase in unwanted calls.

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