U.S. government is crying foul after Sprint Corp overcharged them by $21 million for wiretapping contracts. Uncle Sam has taken the telecom operator to court over a disagreement about the price tag set on snooping jobs requested by law enforcement agencies. This is a routine request made to telecom operators to facilitate wiretaps backed by court orders. Companies are required to comply with such orders and upon completion they can request to be paid for “reasonable expenses”.
“Because Sprint’s invoices for intercept charges did not identify the particular expenses for which it sought reimbursement, federal law enforcement agencies were unable to detect that Sprint was requesting reimbursement of these unallowable costs,” San Francisco U.S. District Court.
Sprint is accused of having inflated the cost for providing this service by 58%. According to the lawsuit, Sprint violates the False Claims Act which bars carriers from using reimbursements awarded in wiretap operations for equipment and facilities upgrades. The carrier is ready to defend itself, according to the company spokesman, its invoices are a sum of reasonable costs incurred during their cooperation to provide electronic surveillance to the governemnt.
“We have fully cooperated with this investigation and intend to defend this matter vigorously,” said Sprint spokesman John Taylor.