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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2023 > ‘Consumer Protection Up Close’

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‘Consumer Protection Up Close’

Consumer Protection Up-Close examines and explains cases filed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section.

In collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement partners nationwide, Attorney General Dave Yost joined an initiative in July 2023 that expands the crackdown on illegal robocall operations responsible for inundating consumers with billions of unwanted calls.

Operation Stop Scam Calls builds on the ongoing efforts of Ohio and other states to combat the persistent problem of robocalls and other unlawful telemarketing.

“Our collective efforts – from this sweep to the Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force and beyond – help us to expand our playbook, allowing us to outwit and defeat these perpetrators in their own arena,” Yost said. “Our secret weapon is consumers – whom we urge to continue reporting illicit robocalls, so we can sever these unwanted illegal robocallers’ connection once and for all.”

The comprehensive initiative targets telemarketers and lead generators who deceptively collect and provide consumers’ phone numbers to robocallers, falsely representing that these individuals have consented to receive such calls.

Since taking office in January 2019, Yost has been working tirelessly to disconnect robocallers by targeting every link in the robocall chain. In the past two years, he has pursued numerous legal actions and consistently worked to educate the public.
Here's a timeline of the most recent work of Yost and his Consumer Protection Section:  
  • July 7, 2022: Yost files a lawsuit against 22 defendants – including California residents, Aaron Michael Jones, Roy M. Cox, Jr. and Stacey E. Yim – for their involvement in a massive “car warranty” robocall scheme. This ongoing case generated more than 1,600 complaints to Yost's office about unwanted calls. The defendants generated sales leads by using an unlawful and complex scheme to bombard consumers with more than 77 million robocalls a day.
  • Jan. 5, 2023: Yost files a lawsuit against six individuals (including California resident Stacey E. Yim) and six companies that relied on illegal robocalls to generate sales leads, subsequently pitching “car warranties” to Ohio residents. The complaint alleges that Florida-based Pelican Investment Holdings financed leads to initiate outbound prerecorded calls, marketing and selling “vehicle service contracts.”
  • March 7, 2023: Yost reaches settlements with John C. Spiller II and Jakob A. Mears, operators of Texas-based Rising Eagle Capital Group, JSquared Telecom, and Rising Eagle Capital Group-Cayman. The two were responsible for initiating more than 69 million robocalls to phone numbers associated with Ohio area codes.
  • May 23, 2023: Co-leading the Anti-Robocall Multistate Litigation Task Force, Yost sues Arizona-based Avid Telecom; its owner, Michael Lansky; and its vice president, Stacy Reeves, for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, both federal laws. The complaint alleges that Avid Telecom, Lansky and Reeves knowingly provided substantial assistance or support to sellers and telemarketers engaged in illegal robocalling, including defendants involved in Yost’s “car warranty” action filed in July 2022
  • August 3, 2023: Yost recognizes the FCC for imposing a record-breaking $299,997,000 fine against a multiplayer robocall enterprise. This penalty stems directly from the coordinated enforcement action taken in collaboration with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in July 2022.
  • August 17, 2023: Yost announces judgments with the final defendants in the massive “health care” robocall operation. Under these judgments Scott Shapiro, Michael Theron Smith Jr. and Health Advisors of America – all of Florida – are subject to permanent robocall bans on calls to Ohio. In addition, Shapiro and Smith are barred for 10 years in Ohio from telemarketing, engaging in lead generation, providing or selling telephone numbers, and calling numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry. Shapiro is also banned for two years from participating in these activities nationwide.
Consumers who receive unwanted calls can complete an Unwanted Call Notification Form at That information is directed to the Robocall Enforcement Unit, which uses the reports to identify trends to protect Ohioans.