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Electronic Clearing House Inc., a Los Angeles-based independent sales organization, has agreed to stop processing unlawful online tobacco sales following requests from the Idaho, New York and California state attorneys general offices to do so, says Lawrence Wasden, Idaho attorney general. ECHO, a unit of Intuit Inc. (CardLine, 12/20/07), was targeted following an Idaho attorney general lawsuit into several Web sites, including smartsmoker.com and ordersmokesdirect.com, that sold online tobacco products not included on his office's list of approved brands. Wasden's office said that the sites, which are operated by a single company, also did not get a tobacco sales permit in Idaho. ECHO's role as the payment processor came to light during the lawsuit, an Idaho attorney general spokesperson tells CardLine. "ECHO has acted responsibly in agreeing to stop processing payments for these illegal sales, and we hope other companies and banks involved in online tobacco sales will follow their lead," Wasden says in a statement. ECHO had been the processor for the Web site since 2006, Wasden's office says. Messages left for Mountain View, Calif.-based Intuit were not returned by CardLine's deadline.

 

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