Sprint Accused of Falsely Claiming Low Income Customers
The Federal Communications Commission has accused Sprint of claiming monthly subsidies from its low-income communications program for 885,000 customers that didn’t exist. The number represents nearly 30 percent of Sprint’s Lifeline customers and nearly 10 percent of the entire Lifeline program participants. Basically the FCC is saying that Sprint ripped off the government to the tune of “tens of millions” of dollars in wasted funding.
The FCC’s Lifeline program offers a $9.25-per-month subsidy for low-income consumers on either a phone or broadband plan. In 2016, under former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, the commission changed the rules of the program to prevent misuse of funds. The new rule stated that if customers don’t use their service for 30 days, providers must begin the process of removing them from the subsidy program. According to the government Sprint knowingly broke rules.
Sprint however has a different story to tell. According to Sprint a mistake was made in 2017 when the company instituted sweeping Lifeline changes approved by the FCC in 2016. Sprint claims that it “proactively” investigated the issue and even brought it to the attention of the FCC. The company also claims that it enlisted the services of an independent reviewer to study the effectiveness of its changes. The company said it was “committed” to compensating governments for the claimed subsidies.
It seems that what Pai has been claiming since he took over the FCC is true. One of the first things Pai did as chairman was to scale back the Lifeline program. Pai has criticized the program as rife with fraud and abuse. According to the FCC inspector general’s report as much as 18.5 percent of payments have been improper.
Pai called the action a “careless disregard” for taxpayers and commission rules. “It’s outrageous that a company would claim millions of taxpayer dollars for doing nothing,” Pai said. He has called for a full investigation.
Breaking It Down
More power to Chairman Pai! Far too often when we hear of abuse or misuse of tax payer funds it is blamed on people, individuals. And in some cases that is true. But you will find that corporations are just as, if not more, guilty of ripping off the government. For a helluva lot more money!
We are a nation where corporations get away with too damn much! They are one of the greatest beneficiaries of the twisted tax code and the greatest abuser of laws intended to protect the consumer. Trust me when I tell you that a corporation will get away with whatever they can. And they have the high dollar lawyers to keep those scheming executive out of prison. If Sprint is guilty of this multi-million dollar rip off and they did it deliberately then someone should be sent to prison. But we know that won’t happen.