A male has been fined practically $10 million by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for making thousands of racist and threatening robocalls.
Scott Rhodes, a 51- year-old Idaho native living in Montana, placed calls to phones in at least 8 states after pre-recording vitriolic messages.
The supposed Nazi sympathizer and white supremacist targeted Black and Jewish political leaders, a journalist and members of an Iowa community grieving a murder.
He also attempted to influence the jury in a murder case versus a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Rhodes made 4,959 illegal spoofed robocalls between May and December 2018, the FCC identified in a finding released on January 14 and seen by Newsweek
The commission discovered Rhodes intentionally changed his caller ID to look like regional numbers as part of his “campaign to send out provocative pre-recorded voice message calls.”
Rhodes, who runs a white supremacist and anti-Semitic broadcasting outlet, is stated to have actually targeted voters throughout political campaigns or homeowners in neighborhoods that had experienced well-known crimes.
The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau discovered Rhodes also sent out more than 34,000 messages through a robocalling service called the Dialing Platform.
By controling the calls to make them seem as if they originated from local numbers, Rhodes was found to have violated the Reality in Caller ID Show the “intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of worth.”
In early 2018, Rhodes made threatening phone calls to the mayor of Alexandria, Virginia, and other council members. Investigators determined that one of those calls was a recording of Adolf Hitler, the Daily Inter Lake reported.
In May that year, Rhodes placed nearly 1,500 robocalls to numbers throughout California, attacking U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein by referring to her as a “traitorous Jew” while advising white Californians to “transfer to North Idaho, where very white is extremely right.”
In August, he made more than 800 tape-recorded calls to citizens of the town of Brooklyn, Iowa, following the killing of college student Mollie Tibbetts.
Tibbetts was attacked in July 2018 while out running in Brooklyn. Her body was found one month later and the calls began two days after her funeral service.
An undocumented immigrant from Mexico was charged with the crime and her death ended up being a talking point for those who support more limiting migration policies.
Family Members of Tibbetts were among those who got Rhodes’ robocalls, which described “brown crowds” and “savages,” according to the FCC.
Rhodes’ calls also discussed remarks made by Tibbetts’ dad in defense of Hispanic neighborhoods at his daughter’s funeral service. The calls questioned whether his daughter would feel the exact same if she were still alive, and explained the suspect as “an intruder from Mexico.” The calls also advised the deportation of all immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
In October 2018 Rhodes sent robocalls using racist tropes to mock Andrew Gillum, a Black Democrat who was running for Florida governor. The following month, he did the exact same with Stacey Abrams, who was running for governor in Georgia.
The FCC discovered Rhodes was “encouraged by a belief that these actions would lead to media prestige and accordingly would enable him to increase promotion for his website and personal brand name.” A preliminary $129 million fine was decreased to $9.9 million.
Rhodes has actually been given 30 days to pay. If he does not, the FCC said it might refer the case to the Department of Justice.
Newsweek has contacted the Federal Communications Commission for comment.