Spam calls are the worst. In March, the Federal Communications Commission issued a warning about the "scourge" of scam robocalls and caller ID spoofers, and last month imposed hefty fines against a number-spoofing spam caller. Now, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a formal complaint against a large-scale telemarketing operation.

In its filing, the FTC specifically names Jamie Christiano and his companies NetDotSolutions, Inc. and TeraMESH Networks, Inc., whose systems have placed billions of robocalls. The filing goes on to say that at least a billion of the calls placed by Christiano's companies were routed to call centers operated by several businesses named World Connection, all owned by one Andy Salisbury. Many of the calls were placed to numbers listed on the national Do Not Call registry.

Per the filing, the defendants could be assessed astronomical sums in damages. "Christiano (and his companies) and Salisbury assisted and facilitated billions of illegal and abusive calls" that violate the Telemarketing Sales Rule, or TSR, the filing says. Enacted in 1995 and then amended in 2003, the TSR is a set of federal guidelines for telemarketing practices. "Salisbury’s call center is directly liable for millions of illegal and abusive calls that violate the TSR," the filing goes on to say. The penalty for violation of the TSR during the time the calls described in the complaint were placed was $16,000 per violation. 

While the filing doesn't name a specific sum, it does request "monetary civil penalties from each Defendant for every violation of the TSR." Time will tell how much the defendants are actually fined, but with so many violations, it likely won't be a slap on the wrist.