Thursday, February 12, 2009

AT&T to Pay $8.2 Million to Settle False Claims Involving E-Rate

AT&T Technical Services Corp. (AT&T-TSCO) has agreed to pay $8,266,414.33 as part of a civil settlement relating to allegations that the company violated the False Claims Act in connection with the Federal Communication Commission's E-Rate program. The E-Rate program, created by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, provides funding for needy schools and libraries to connect to and utilize the Internet. Under the E-Rate program, which is funded by monies collected from telephone users, schools apply for funds to pay for hardware and monthly connectivity service fees. The FCC oversees the E-Rate program.

The United States Department of Justice contended that AT&T-TSCO engaged in non-competitive bidding practices for E-rate contracts. Additionally, the government alleged that AT&T-TSCO claimed and received E-rate funds for goods and services that were ineligible for the program's discounts, overbilled the E-Rate program for services provided and facilitated a payment or profit to the applicant from E-Rate funds.

The agreed-to resolution announced today resulted from an ongoing federal investigation of fraud and anti-competitive conduct in the E-Rate program in Indiana.

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