Government sues Sprint, says carrier overcharged them to bug phones

Government sues Sprint, says carrier overcharged them to bug phones
The Justice Department is suing Sprint, claiming that the carrier overcharged the U.S. government by $21 million to bug phones. Carriers that are ordered by the U.S. government to tap customers' phones are entitled to be reimbursed for the costs of doing so. But the government says that Sprint secretly included the expense of financing equipment upgrades from January 2007 to July 2010.

The suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and revolves around conventional wiretaps that require judicial approval. The 1995 law that allows carriers to be reimbursed for their costs to bug phones, covers pre-1995 equipment. In 2006, the FCC ruled that operators could not charge the government for post-1995 equipment upgrades. The government seeks the return of the money that they claim Sprint overcharged them, along with financial penalties.


Despite the FCC ruling, Sprint charged the government for upgrades to its equipment up through 2010, when the company changed its rules on billing. For its part, the nation's third largest carrier refutes the legal charges and says that its invoices fully comply with the law. The agencies that claim to have overpaid Sprint include the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshal's Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the Secret Service. The DEA claims that Sprint owes it the most money out of all of the government agencies listed.

source: SFGate via SprintUsers

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21 Comments

1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Sprint just went from bad to worse. How are they still in business?

3. Kishin

Posts: 706; Member since: May 30, 2013

Without Gov't support there going to disappear, now they have even less chance with T-mobile purchase cause the Gov't has to approve and i dont think they will after this..

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

They're* I'd like to merger to go through so T-Mobile has access to more towers and money just as long as Legere is running the show. Heese is a joke of a CEO.

12. DigitalJedi_X2

Posts: 346; Member since: Jan 30, 2012

The* Not too sure I want this merger to go through. Don't want Sprints stink on T-Mobile.

13. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I've been corrected... Let me log off now. Way to go Jedii.

14. youlookfoolish

Posts: 193; Member since: Dec 14, 2012

Jedi* Here's hoping Legere is out of the media spotlight soon. Fanboys like you thumping their chest while T-Mobile loses $20 million in the 4th quarter of 2013 while actually adding millions of customers shows you don't understand he's nothing more than a loudmouth making his unprofitable business even more unattractive to it's foreign parent company. FYI you make as many spelling and grammar errors as the people you correct Smurf. You're not that clever. Just remember, the loudest fanboys are open to looking the most foolish.

15. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Its* foreign parent company.

16. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Hesse*

19. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Here we go again. Mr. TMO evangelist and Sprint basher. You can't exactly trust our gov't with numbers either.

2. HASHTAG unregistered

@PapaSmurf, likely from overcharging the US government. :p

6. hurrycanger

Posts: 1765; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

What phone did you use to type this comment? Just curious. :D (Nothing's wrong with your comment, so don't look for it xD. I'm just curious, seriously.)

18. HASHTAG unregistered

The Nokia Lumia 1520

8. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Fool! That means we're paying for it! lol, I do have to laugh at this situation though.

4. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Poor Sprint to bad they aren't "too big to fail" like some other spoiled companies.

5. TechBlue

Posts: 81; Member since: May 06, 2010

Sprint..you are toast now

7. hurrycanger

Posts: 1765; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

The government, don't mess with. xD

10. mayur007

Posts: 593; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

PA - overcharged NOT overchagred

17. pookiewood

Posts: 631; Member since: Mar 05, 2012

Congrats you found s typo. Now if only you could help me find my misplaced keys.

11. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

And this is how it happens. First the government uses the carriers to spy on us then they turn on the carriers and put them out of business.... Not that I did not see this coming. First the government uses the carriers to spy on us then they turn on the other carriers, the carriers will refuse to “repay” the Government, and the Government will seize all of the carriers assets. Then we will have USA Cell Service Company run by the Government and there is no need for the secret court for the Government to spy on us. AND YES I HAVE MY TINFOIL HAT ON THANK YOU!!!!

20. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

"As alleged, Sprint overbilled law enforcement agencies for carrying out court-ordered intercepts, causing a significant loss to the government's limited resources."-Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney WHAT? Since 9-11, data collection has become a multi-billion dollar industry thanks to the Patriot Act. Saying they have limited resources is ridiculous.

21. ePoch270

Posts: 193; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

It sounds like these were Domestic Law Enforcement cases, not 9-11 related terrorism cases, otherwise, they wouldn't have needed the wiretap to begin with.

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