Monday, April 30, 2012

Phone Company: Lawsuit "improper and brazen"

AT&T is asking a judge to dismiss a Justice Dept. lawsuit against it for allegedly failing to stop swindlers from taking millions out of a service meant to benefit the deaf. The suit claims the company knew Nigerian con men were stealing from the IP Relay service, but did nothing about it. Instead, it knowingly asked for reimbursement of international calls that are not eligible for the reimbursement program. AT&T says it didn't know the calls - as much as 95% of all the calls - were being fabricated and the lawsuit is an “improper and brazen attempt to use the False Claims Act to litigate a garden-variety regulatory claim.” The case started as a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Constance Lyttle, a former worker at an AT&T call center. The FCC reimburses companies like AT&T about $1.30 per minute out of a fund created by fees placed on consumer phone bills.