The US Department of Justice is seeking to recover $9.9 million in penalties from a man in Montana for nearly 5,000 unlawful and malicious “robocalls,” some of which contained discriminatory remarks against Jews and other minorities.
The DOJ filed the complaint on Thursday after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found the man identified as Scott Rhodes, 52 guilty for the malicious “robocalls”.
“Robocalls” are phone calls that deliver prerecorded messages. Robocalls are often associated with political and telemarketing phone campaigns, though technological advancements have led to an expansion in the use and application of robocalling.
The United States Congress passed legislation expanding the regulation of robocalls in 2019.
Based on the DOJ complaint, Rhodes made 4,959 illegal robocalls with falsified caller ID information.
The DOJ added that many of his calls included messages that are “highly inflammatory”, such as his spoofed calls to locals of an Iowa town in the aftermath of a community murder where he told victims that the woman had been murdered by a “biological hybrid of white and savage Aztec ancestors.”
The DOJ said based on the FCC finding, Rhodes also made 2,000 calls targeting residents of Charlottesville, North Carolina, during the investigation of the Charlottesville car attack at 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally which left Heather Heyer dead and dozens injured.
The DOJ said the calls generally espoused hateful discrimination, such as a mention of Charlottesville’s “Jew Mayor” and “his pet Negro Police Chief.”
They added that some of Rhodes’ messages also stated, “We’re no longer going to tolerate a Jewish lying press and Jew corruption of an American legal system.”
Sources said the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Assistant US Attorney Shannon Clarke for the District of Montana.