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Rokita sues robocall 'gateway' company that targeted Hoosiers

rokita

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said few lawsuits have gone after robocall gateway companies. He hopes it sends a message to the telecom industry. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is suing an Indiana-based company that he said helped send at least 4.8 million illegal robocalls to Hoosiers.

Rokita said the lawsuit in civil court, one of the first of its kind in the country, alleges that a two-person Indiana company acted as a “gateway” for robocallers overseas, routing their calls in the United States.

“The robocallers – the actual scammers – would try to take your money acting as IRS agents, acting as Social Security Administration, acting as legal counsel threatening to put you in jail,” Rokita said.

Rokita alleges that the Indiana company also worked with more longstanding telecommunications companies in California to facilitate the illegal calls. And Rokita said his office warned those California companies about the scams.

“We did that multiple times and it was ignored, for greed,” Rokita said.

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Rokita said few lawsuits have gone after gateway companies. He hopes it sends a message to the telecom industry.

The companies in the lawsuit could face billions of dollars in fines, according to the attorney general.

Rokita also said new partnerships between his office and private companies in the telecom industry helped make the investigation possible. Previously, he said, tracing robocalls was done primarily through subpoena, which could take more than a year to ultimately unravel.

"Working with this group and working with new technology, we were able to reduce that length of time to literally hours and days," Rokita said. "And that's how we were able to catch these people."

The Indiana-based company already shut down its operation in recent weeks amid the attorney general's investigation.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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