The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a record-breaking $300 million fine for auto warranty scam robocalls made by the largest illegal robocall operation the agency has ever investigated.

An international network of companies violated regulations when they executed a scheme to make more than five billion robocalls to more than 500 million phone numbers during a three-month span in 2021.

Two of the central players of the operation, Roy M. Cox and Aaron Michael Jones, were under lifetime bans against making telemarketing calls following lawsuits by the Federal Trade Commission and the State of Texas.

The multi-national enterprise did business as Sumco Panama, Virtual Telecom, Davis Telecom, Geist Telecom, Fugle Telecom, Tech Direct, Mobi Telecom, and Posting Express, the FCC said in a statement late on Thursday.

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“We take seriously our responsibility to protect consumers and the integrity of US communications networks from the onslaught of these types of pernicious calls,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief, Loyaan A. Egal.

The enterprise violated a multitude of robocall prohibitions by making pre-recorded voice calls to mobile phones without prior express consent, placing telemarketing calls without written consent, and dialing numbers included on the National Do Not Call Registry.

They also failed to identify the caller at the start of the message and failed to provide a call-back number that allowed consumers to opt out of future calls.

The calls also violated spoofing laws by using misleading caller ID to disguise the enterprise’s role and prompt consumers to answer, said the FCC.

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Last year, the FCC directed all US-based voice service providers to cease carrying traffic associated with certain members of the enterprise. As a result, these illegal auto warranty robocalls dropped by 99 percent.