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AT&T Communications Crime Government The Almighty Buck

AT&T Charged US Taxpayers $16 Million For Nigerian Fraud Calls 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the hand-in-the-cookie-jar dept.
McGruber writes "Bloomberg News is reporting that AT&T got more than $16 million from the U.S. government to run Telecommunications Relay Services, intended to help the hearing- and speech-impaired. However, as many as '95 percent of the calls in AT&T's hearing- impaired program were made by people outside the U.S. attempting to defraud merchants through the use of stolen credit cards, counterfeit checks and money orders.' According to the DoJ, 'AT&T in 2004, after getting complaints from merchants, determined the Internet Protocol addresses of 10 of the top 12 users of the service were abroad, primarily in Lagos, Nigeria.' The DOJ intervened in the whistle-blower lawsuit Lyttle v. AT&T Communications of Pennsylvania, 10-01376, U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). The DOJ is seeking triple damages from AT&T."
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AT&T Charged US Taxpayers $16 Million For Nigerian Fraud Calls

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  • Re:FYI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BiggerBadderBen (947100) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nebreddabreggib.> on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:06PM (#39453163)
    They mean the same thing, trebleevenfall. Don't be a pedantic tool.
  • Let me guess.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brannoncyll (894648) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:11PM (#39453231)
    .. the only ones getting hurt by the fines will AT&T's customers when they see their bills increase.
  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:11PM (#39453235)

    I always laugh when a lawyer or judge or politician starts screaming about hitting a business with a financial loss to punish them for fraud or negligence or some other crime or scam. Where do they think that that money is going to come from? Do they think that the CEOs are going to pay it from their own pockets?

    That money will come directly from consumers and subscribers. Most who will be completely unaware of this lawsuit. AT&T will up the rates or charge extra for other services or products and that will pay off whatever losses are from this lawsuit.

    Basically only the consumers lose. The Nigerian scammers make their money. AT&T makes its money back eventually. The judges and lawyers make their money. And the consumers and taxpayers foot the bill for everything. It's a great system.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:13PM (#39453259)

    So your solution is to never punish businesses instead?

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:16PM (#39453307)

    Don't be an ATT customer.

    I can't help wondering if this is really AT&T's fault? They were tasked to provide this service by the government. Were they then supposed to filter-out the overseas hearing-impaired? Doesn't that violate the Common Carrier requirement that phone calls not be monitored for content or restricted? (ponder). I'm curious to see how this turns-out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:25PM (#39453405)

    It's the euphemism treadmill. People come up with a euphemism to describe a negative condition without the negative connotations associated with the original word. Unfortunately, the reason why the word had negative connotations in the first place is because the condition it described was undesirable. So the euphemism picks up the negative connotations that it was specifically created to avoid, and a new euphemism is necessary. The process then repeats. You can see this in a number of places. My favorite is how "idiot" turned to "imbecile" which turned to "slow" which turned to "retarded" which turned to "learning impaired" or "minimally exceptional" or whatever it is now.

    The great 20th century philosopher and orator George Carlin had a pretty good routine about this; I'm sure you can find it on YouTube or something.

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:28PM (#39453449)
    Summary:

    $16 million from the U.S. government to run Telecommunications Relay Services, intended to help the hearing- and speech-impaired

    Article:

    $16 million from the U.S. government to offer a calling service for the deaf that the company knew was being used by Nigerian fraudsters

    There's a huge difference between these two statements. The first makes it sound like AT&T thought it was doing something good, but just so happened to be not so good.
    The second makes it sound like AT&T knew what it was doing, but did it anyway.

    Anyway, I'm usually not one to side with the DOJ, but I hope they kick AT&T's ass to the curb for this.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:34PM (#39453541) Homepage Journal

    The bosses should get punishment.

    Exactly. You can't put a corporation in jail, but you can put the law-breaking decision makers there.

    Incorporation protects the board of directors and management from financial losses and seizure of their personal assets. It does not protect them from prosecution for illegal activities or decisions made on behalf of the company.

  • by Brannoncyll (894648) on Friday March 23, 2012 @01:51PM (#39453827)

    omg! don't hold corporations accountable!

    get a grip.

    Hold the management responsible. Fining the corporation will just result in pissing off their customers but will not discourage the corporation from doing it again unless they lose a significant number of customers.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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