Wednesday, May 8, 2013

AT&T get $18 million slap

AT&T has agreed to pay more than $18 million for not stopping swindlers from taking millions out of a service meant to benefit the deaf. A year ago, we told you the Justice Department had joined a whistleblower lawsuit filed in Pittsburgh by Constance Lyttle, a former worker at an AT&T call center. Prosecutors claimed the phone company knowingly asked for reimbursement of calls not covered in the service. Many were placed by international callers using the service to buy things using stolen credit cards. As much as 95% of the calls were international and not eligible for the reimbursement program. The FCC reimburses companies like AT&T about $1.30 per minute out of a fund created by fees placed on consumer phone bills. AT&T says it didn't know the calls were being fabricated, but the FCC requires IP Relay providers to verify users' name and mailing address. AT&T isn’t admitting any wrongdoing, but it will pay $7 million back to the Telecommunications Relay Service fund and what amounts to a federal fine of more than $11 million.