Feds: Sprint Overcharged Us for Wiretaps

Firm accused of bilking agencies for $21M upgrade
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2014 3:07 AM CST
Sprint and other telecoms firms are required to have equipment ready for government wiretaps.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

(Newser) – Telecommunications companies that assist government wiretappers are allowed to claim back "reasonable expenses"—but the federal government says Sprint Communications padded its bill to the tune of $21 million. In a lawsuit filed yesterday, the government accuses the firm of having "knowingly submitted false claims " to the FBI, DEA, and other agencies over several years, inflating its costs by more than 50%, Reuters reports.

The Federal Communications Commission ruled years ago that companies couldn't bill the government for upgrades to wiretap equipment, but government lawyers say Sprint hid those costs in its bills, "causing a significant loss to the government's limited resources," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Sprint denies trying to scam Uncle Sam and says the invoices it submitted for dealing with court-ordered intercepts fully comply with the law. (Read more Sprint stories.)

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