AT&T Accused of Swindling Millions Through Services Aiding the Deaf and Disabled

There is ample evidence showing that expensive incumbent phone carriers in the U.S. such as AT&T make little sense for consumers. Now there’s more.

The US Justice Department is filing suit against AT&T, Inc., accusing the telephone giant of cheating the government out of millions of dollars by knowingly allowing swindlers to use federally subsidized telephone service for the deaf, reports the Reuters news agency.

According to the report, the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Pennsylvania, contends that AT&T billed the Federal Communications Commission, at a rate of about $1.30 per minute, for reimbursement of calls used by ineligible international users for purposes “such as buying goods from merchants using stolen credit cards.”

The FCC collects funds through fees added to consumer telephone bills to help cover the cost of services allowing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to make and receive voice calls through text messages relayed via IP services.

Though the government is actually joining in a law suit filed by a former worker at one of AT&T’s call centers and claims AT&T knowingly tried to skirt FCC requirements, the company claims it did not know about the illegal use of their service.

Reuters full report can be found here.