The FCC has started additional enforcement action to protect against the sale of toll free numbers. On March 25, 2014, the FCC released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL File No. EB-TCD-13-00010173) against IT Connect and Richard Jackowitz for $3,360,000 for having “willfully and repeatedly violated Section 52.107 of the Commission’s rules by brokering 210 toll free numbers for fees ranging from $375 to $60,000 per number.”
In July 2012, IT Connect was issued a citation in the amount of $240,000 (File No. EB-TCD-12-00000034) for the sale of 15 numbers to Bristol-Myers Squibb (see ATL August 2012 Newsletter). To date, neither IT Connect nor Mr. Jackowitz has responded to nor have they paid this penalty. As a result of this failure to respond, the Commission has referred the matter to the Department of Justice for enforcement.
In this most recent violation, Mr. Jackowitz is accused of selling toll free numbers to Sokolove Law, LLC. The FCC received a tip that a transaction had occurred and opened an investigation. During the investigation, the FCC received four separate signed contracts between IT Connect and Sokolove defining the terms and price of the sale of each TFN. The investigation also identified a list of numbers that were offered for sale, but no transaction was completed.
The jury is still out on what the impact of this new and more aggressive action by the FCC might have on the industry at large, but it does indicate a new willingness to take direct action.