On Tuesday, the Kansas Corporation Commission fined AT&T $15,000 for overcharging the state’s Lifeline program by about $100,000 last year. The Lifeline program provides subsidized phone service for low-income consumers and was created by the Reagan administration in 1985 and expanded by Bush in 2005.
Since the expansion in 2005, AT&T has been caught defrauding the Lifeline program several times. Each time, AT&T receives money for “erroneously” claiming Lifeline credit for customers who don’t exist (or don’t qualify).
Several months ago, AT&T was fined $4,750 by the Kansas Corporation Commission for over-charging more than $83,000 in 2012 and 2013. In this instance, AT&T claimed credit for 1,000 customers who didn’t exist.
Several weeks ago, the FCC announced that AT&T was being fined $10.4 million for “failing to adequately audit its Lifeline subscriber roles, collecting subsidies for customers that no longer existed or were no longer eligible.”
As DSLReports notes, AT&T has now been fined by the FCC for defrauding the IP Relay network used by the deaf, fined for profiting off of cramming, sued by the FTC for throttling unlimited data users, and now for effectively taking unearned subsidies intended for the poor.