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Las Vegas Sands says lookalike website is counterfeit

Perhaps it is another sign that you cannot trust everything you see on the Internet: the casino-hotelier Las Vegas Sands Corp. has filed a lawsuit against a website it says copied its own site to commit fraud by luring visitors into buying into an investment opportunity. Sands claims the website looks very similar to the genuine company site, with pictures of the Venetian and Palazzo casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Unfortunately for Sands, the creators of the website are not known.

According to the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on May 1, the website is meant to lure investors to a project that Sands has nothing to do with. Besides the pictures of Sands' holdings, the website allegedly contains pages with headings such as "Company Overview" and "Our Properties."

"Defendant is operating an investment scheme through a website that purports to be Las Vegas Sands' official website," the lawsuit says. Sands contends that the counterfeit website is damaging the company's reputation and goodwill among the public. It is asking the court for a temporary restraining order against the defendant and to transfer control of the site's domain name to the court.

Complicating the lawsuit is the fact that the identity of whoever is behind the website is not clear. It does not appear that Sands identifies the defendant in its lawsuit, and an article about the case says the defendant is unknown. This will probably make it difficult for the defendant to be served with the lawsuit, possibly raising a lack of notice defense.

Source: VEGAS INC, "Las Vegas Sands seeks to shut down alleged counterfeit website," Steve Green, May 2, 2012

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