Obamaphone company ‘outraged’ by evidence of fraud, abuse in program

Obamaphone company ‘outraged’ by evidence of fraud, abuse in program

A nationwide cellphone company distributing phones and cellphone plans in Denver as part of a massive government program says it is “outraged by the unacceptable actions” uncovered by a CBS4 undercover investigation.

The response from Total Call Mobile comes nearly three months after an undercover CBS4 investigation revealed multiple examples of fraud and cheating in the phone distribution program.

The Lifeline program is aimed at providing free cellphone service to the poor and needy. It handed out more than 13 million free cellphone plans in the first six months of 2014. In Colorado, the program handed out more than 117,000 free cellphone plans in the first half of 2014 or about 20,000 cellphones every month. …

[M]ultiple times a CBS4 producer and reporter found phone agents in Denver circumventing strict government rules to ensure that only the truly needy get the free phones. Vendors, like Total Call, receive massive government subsidies to hand out the phones and the accompanying monthly plans.

In one case a Total Call agent used someone else’s food stamp card to provide eligibility for a CBS4 producer. On another occasion another Total Call agent said it would be perfectly fine to use a friend’s food stamp card to establish eligibility and obtain a free phone.

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