It is that festive time of the year — the time of holiday parties, general merriment and good cheer — when FraudMail Alert traditionally looks back over the prior year to recognize some prosecution or prosecutors that never seem to realize how funny (or ridiculous) their prosecutions are. In past years we have made fun of the Civil Division of DOJ (my favorite) which prosecuted the “defective mice” case we discussed in 2005 (FraudMail Alert No. 05-12-15); the HHS OIG agents who suffered through attending beauty pageant after beauty pageant to get the evidence to put the “Minnesota beauty queen” in jail in 2004 (FraudMail Alert No. 04-12-22); and the Fish & Wildlife agents who went undercover at Sutton Place Gourmet to prove “caviar fraud” in 2002 (FraudMail Alert No. 02-12-20).
There was one division of DOJ, the Civil Rights Division, that we never thought would be a subject of one of our holiday alerts. This Division has such a noble purpose, it seemed we could never make fun of it. But, alas, we were wrong. The Division breathlessly announced earlier this year that, to the relief of all who fought for civil rights, the Division had guaranteed the right of disabled Americans to lose all their money at the casino tables of America.
On May 2, 2007, the DOJ Civil Rights Division proudly announced a settlement with Mandalay Bay Casino Resort in Las Vegas and the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, Mississippi. What was the problem, you may ask? It seems that Mandalay Bay and Gold Strike (both wonderful casinos where the craps tables have not been kind to me) were not giving proper access to disabled Americans. According to the DOJ press release:
Access to public accommodations is critical to ensuring that individuals with disabilities can enjoy the full range of experiences available to all Americans.
DOJ Press Release No. 07-318: 05-02-07, available at http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2007/May/07_crt_318.html
We at FraudMail Alert are certainly relieved that the Civil Rights Division is vigilant to assure the rights of disabled Americans to gamble away their Social Security checks and personal injury settlements at Las Vegas and Mississippi casinos. Perhaps next year the Civil Rights Division will next sue tobacco and liquor companies to be sure that disabled Americans can be just as vice-ridden as the rest of America and “enjoy the full range of experiences available to all Americans.” We will sleep better knowing that the DOJ has ensured our rights to gamble away our nest eggs.