LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansans can expect fewer unwanted telephone calls after a federal judge ordered a Florida robocall operator to permanently cease operations.

A Tuesday statement from Attorney General Tim Griffin’s office said that Arkansas was part of a seven-state coalition that brought a suit against Health Advisors of America in 2020. The settlement in the suit prevents HAA or its principles, Scott Shapiro and Michael Theron Smith Jr., from making robocalls or working with companies that make robocalls to any of the coalition states.

Arkansas joined in the lawsuit with Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas. As part of the settlement, the court ordered a $146,153,860 financial judgment for Shapiro, Smith and HAA.  However, all but $250,000 of that amount is suspended “due to the Defendants’ financial situation,” according to court documents.

Of the final $250,000 settlement, Arkansas will receive $35,714.28. If the court finds the group misrepresented its financial situation, it will have to pay the suspended part of the fine, which is $10,439,561.43, to each coalition state.  

In announcing the settlement, Griffin cited the nuisance of robocalls for residents of the Natural State.

“Unwanted calls are a nuisance to every Arkansan,” Griffin said. “The settlements entered in this case prohibit these defendants from directing robocalls to Arkansas, giving peace to Arkansans who have been plagued with unlawful and annoying calls from these bad actors.”

The settlement referenced violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act “and respective telemarketing and deceptive acts and practices laws” of the coalition states.