US charges firms defrauded deaf phone fund

November 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Federal prosecutors have charged more than two dozen people with scheming to steal millions from a telephone program for the deaf.Authorities say a number of companies schemed to create phony calls to a video service that allows the deaf to converse over phone lines to hearing people.

Authorities have made arrests in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Maryland.

The service is paid for by funds raised through charges on telephone bills, and the fund is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission.

The service allows deaf Americans to connect to a video service with a sign language translator, who can then relay information between a deaf person and a hearing person.


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