Thursday, March 22, 2012

Feds go after AT&T

The Justice Dept. is suing AT&T for not stopping swindlers from taking millions out of a service meant to benefit the deaf.  The Feds are joining a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Constance Lyttle, a former worker at an AT&T call center. Prosecutors say the phone company knowingly asked for reimbursement of calls not covered in the service. Many were placed by international callers using the service to buy things using stolen credit cards. As much as 95% of the calls were international and not eligible for the reimbursement program. The FCC reimburses companies like AT&T about $1.30 per minute out of a fund created by fees placed on consumer phone bills. AT&T says it didn't know the calls were being fabricated, but the FCC requires IP Relay providers to verify users' name and mailing address.  The US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania says, "Those who misuse funds intended to benefit the hearing- and speech-impaired must be held accountable."