AG sues Evansville company alleged to be ‘gateway’ for international robocalls

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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has filed a lawsuit against an Indiana company that allegedly acted as a gateway for robocallers from several Southeast Asian countries into the United States.

Startel Communication LLC, an Evansville-based company owned and operated by Wanda Hall and Abhijit Chowdhury, was sued Thursday by Rokita’s office.

Startel is described on its website as a “Usa registered premium Voice/ VoIP service provider” that the AG’s office alleges serves as a gateway for calls stemming from India, the Philippines and Singapore.

Specifically, the suit alleges more than 4.8 million robocalls were made to Hoosiers through Startel Communications in a variety of scams, including IRS and Social Security Administration imposter scams, legal action or arrest scams, computer support scams, Apple support scams and Amazon subscription scams.

“Hoosiers are sick and tired of being harassed by illegal and unwanted robocalls, and Kathy and I are two of them,” Rokita said in a statement announcing the lawsuit, referencing his wife. “Just as I promised, we will stay on the offense in our efforts to protect Indiana consumers and bring these people to justice.”

Also included in the suit are two California companies — Piratel LLC, which allegedly routed 3.1 million of the robocalls, and VoIP Essential LLC, which allegedly routed 1.5 million. Startel allegedly paid both companies more than $100,000 “to look the other way”

The companies and individuals are alleged to have committed millions of violations of federal and Indiana law amounting to billions of dollars in fines. The state is seeking monetary judgment and damages, as well as injunctive relief.

The AG office’s investigation was initiated from consumer complaints and took more than one year to complete.

The case in the Evansville Division of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is State of Indiana v. Startel Communication, LLC, et al., 3:21-cv-00150.

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