Telecommunications giant Sprint has agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit in which the the Obama administration alleged that the company overbilled the government while conducting “court-ordered intercepts” of its customers.
In 2014, the government sued Sprint, claiming that it has overcharged by $21 million – a 58 percent markup, according to the suit – for its services between January 1, 2007, and July 31, 2010.
The Obama administration’s claim that Sprint “knowingly” submitted false claims is an accusation that the company either knew it had falsified records, acted in “deliberate ignorance,” or with “reckless disregard” of the facts.
Sprint, along with Verizon and AT&T, are regularly required to aid government investigations – doing so by facilitating phone surveillance, also known as pen registers, which contain metadata about a phone call, not its content. In exchange for standing at the ready, the companies are permitted to charge law enforcement agencies for “reasonable expenses” related to the investigation.