By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The nation’s largest cellphone providers will pay a combined $116 million under a settlement approved Thursday in a California lawsuit alleging that they overcharged government customers for wireless services over more than a decade.
Verizon will pay $68 million and AT&T Mobility $48 million to settle claims that they violated cost-saving agreements included in wireless contracts with state and local governments. Sprint and T-Mobile previously agreed to pay a combined $9.6 million.
Attorneys who filed the suit said it is the second-largest California False Claims Act settlement outside of the health care industry.
The California Attorney General’s Office decided not to sue after its own investigation of the government contracts in California and Nevada, said Verizon spokesman Rich Young, so a whistleblower sued in 2012 using a provision of the act that allows for such independent lawsuits on the state’s behalf.