The mystery behind a pre-dawn series of robo calls asking voters to support state Rep. Kathleen Peters has been solved. Sort of.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the number was traced back to Barbara Homer, a 53-year-old Clearwater resident, but she’s the victim, not the perpetrator.
Homer’s phone information was pilfered through what officials call “caller ID spoofing.” Her number was then used to carry out a number of calls over several weeks. What was happening didn’t become a big deal though until it targeted Peters and her opponent for the Pinellas County House District 69, Scott Orsini.
Throughout that time Homer’s phone rang off the hook from people calling back. One of the phone calls was from an enraged woman accusing Homer of having an affair with her husband because her phone number popped up so many times.
Spoofing is against the law and carries a $10,000 penalty under the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009. Officials don’t yet know who the “spoofer” is, but Peters has asked the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office and the Federal Communications Commission to look into it.
A flurry of phone calls went out to people in five counties over the weekend asking voters to support Peters for a seat in Congress. She ran unsuccessfully against David Jolly in the special election for Congressional District 13 to replace the late C.W. Bill Young. It was clear something was fishy because the call was advocating for an office Peters is no longer seeking. The call also didn’t have the required disclaimers about who paid for the call.
Both the Peters and Orsini campaigns exchanged accusations that the other was involved.