Politics spawns Etch A Sketch revival, Justice Department sues AT&T over billing practices

By John Seewer

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 22 2012 7:25 p.m. MDT

LAS VEGAS — Nevada gambling regulators have approved a license that will let singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett share in the gambling revenues from his Margaritaville casino in Las Vegas.

The Nevada Gaming Commission unanimously approved a gambling license Thursday for Palm Beach, Fla.-based Margaritaville Holdings and its famous chairman Buffett.

The casino located inside the Flamingo on the Las Vegas Strip opened in October. Buffett has had a presence in Sin City since 2003 through his Margaritaville restaurant.

Buffett told commissioners he never imagined the laid-back beach tune he released in 1977 would eventually become a valuable piece of intellectual property. But he added that "Margaritaville" was "a pretty good song" and said "it worked out."

— Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has sued to recover millions of dollars from AT&T Corp., alleging the company improperly billed the government for services that are designed for use by the deaf and hard-of-hearing who place calls by typing messages over the Internet.

The system has been abused by callers overseas who use it to defraud U.S. merchants by ordering goods with stolen credit cards and counterfeit checks. In response, the federal government ordered telecom companies to register their users.

The Justice Department lawsuit said AT&T failed to adopt procedures to detect or prevent fraudulent users from registering. The government said the company feared its call volumes would drop once fraudulent users were prevented from calling on the system. The government reimbursed AT&T $1.30 per minute for every call on this system.

— Associated Press

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