back to article AT&T profiting from Nigerian scammers, DoJ charges

AT&T can't catch a break from the US government. First the feds squashed Big Phone's proposed merger with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, and now the Department of Justice has slapped a suit on the company for alleged improper billing for services intended for use by the deaf and hard of hearing. The service in question is IP …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No mention if Eric Holder had anything to do with this case. Certainly don't want see this incompetent attorney general get credit for doing something right for a change.

  2. Peter 39

    Any way the wind blows money

    AT&T seem to have no moral core. No honesty. No "do the right thing"

    This is the way their wireless systems operate, and I'm not surprised to find it in their other operations.

    If corporations have rights as "persons" to make political contributions (as they do sine the "Citizens United" case") then why can't they go to jail when they break the law?

    1. Phil Koenig

      Re: Any way the wind blows money

      This has been my consistent experience with AT&T in virtually every complex dealing I've had with them in either commercial or residential, data or voice services: rotten to the core.

      Just last week I was reminded again when attempting to resolve a commercial billing issue. At every turn they fail to follow-through as promised, fail to provide ways to adequately follow-up on committments, and have the most utterly convoluted rats-nest of bureacracy staffed by clueless minions who I'm convinced are hired precisely because it makes it less likely customers will get anything that ATT doesn't feel like giving them.

      On the residential side for example, if you go to their website and try to _remove_ a service from your account, you will find that it is impossible. Lots of opportunities to ADD some service that you'll pay extra for, but no way to remove anything. (This was confirmed by the rep I eventually spoke to, who actually half-heartedly apologized for that little sales trick)

      I've even had field installers who were onsite to install a circuit for an AT&T "partner ISP" using their local-loop try to talk you out of using that ISP and switch to AT&T's lousy service instead.

      Like a zombie army, that organization.

  3. DanceMan

    Did I hear?

    "Honest, guv, I didn't know it were stolen...................................."


  4. Anonymous Coward

    Very strange. What about postal scams? I've never seen the post office sued for other peoples postal scams. Yes they are obliged to fix it when given the legal ability to, but that's usually after the fact and with help.

    1. BoldMan

      Red the article, its not some much the scams it the fact that they are being paid a subsidy for calls that are inelligable for the subsidy and not doing anything to prevent it happening. its not that they are scam callers, its that they are allowing people to use the SERVICE fraudulently and profiting from it.

      Scam mails through the post are paid for by the scammer, not through some subsidy from the government.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Except that the government is propping the postal system up. The postal system is losing billions per year. They are not receiving a direct subsidy but they are getting money nonetheless and thus the end result is a subsidy.

        1. Chris 244


          "Since 1971, the USPS has been a self-supporting government agency that covers its operating

          costs with revenues generated through the sales of postage and related products and services."

          The only subsidy the USPS gets is $100 million/yr to offset costs associated with mandated mail-outs to overseas voters and the blind. Recent losses are largely due to the PAEA which requires the USPS to prefund retiree health benefits.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "AT&T "knowingly adopted a non-compliant registration system that did not verify whether the user was located within the United States," and continued the practice even after it had determined that 95 per cent of its IP Relay calls were coming from foreign fraudsters."

  5. Big Al

    None so blind as those who will not see, I guess.

    Mine's the one with the white stick on the icon.

  6. william_7
    Thumb Down

    ATT are merely remitting an incorrect invoice to the US Gov. pity that is not criminal.

    I guess they did not break down the origin of the calls in a bill on a monthly basis to the us gov?

    1. Chris 244


      Knowingly remitting an incorrect invoice is fraud. "We knew the invoicing was incorrect but couldn't be bothered to fix it even after we were told to a couple of years ago" isn't likely to hold up that well in court as a defense.

  7. Jeffrey Jefferson

    $1.30 per minute?

    What a joke.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They need to send criminal CEOs to prison

    There is no reason why CEOs and execs who violate law should not be sent to prison. White collar crime just means they can afford better paid liars.

  9. chris lively

    Knowing government crap and regulations, AT&T probably has nothing to fear on this.

    My guess is that there are various conflicting rules involved, such as the one hinted about in the article that says they are tp always connect those who claim they are disabled. If that's true then no matter what AT&T was breaking the rules; in which case they choose a course of action that was the most profitable to them.

    My prediction: the case will be dropped. AT&T will pay a relatively small fine; and a few rules and regulations will be quietly changed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's the American way...

    2. skeptical i

      And those who truly NEED the service will be charged more for it.

      SOMEONE has to pay AT&T's fine, you see, and stockholders won't have it.

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