Monday, April 4, 2011

Verizon Settles Govt Overcharging Case for $93.5 Million

Verizon will pay the U.S. government $93.5 million to settle charges that it over billed from 2004 to 2010, when Verizon allegedly billed the government for a variety of surcharges including property tax surcharges, carrier cost recovery charges, state telecommunications relay service surcharges and public utility commission fee surcharges. The case concerns a whistleblower lawsuit filed against Verizon over a GSA fixed-price contract, which supposedly was negotiated to avoid hidden surcharges.

"Verizon was not only charging the government for the costs associated with communication services but it also was pumping up its revenues by charging the government for Verizon's own property taxes and other costs of doing business," said Colette Matzzie, a Washington, DC, attorney with Phillips & Cohen LLP, which represents the whistleblower. "Under federal law, Verizon was responsible for paying those costs, not the government."