McCaskill calls for prosecution for fraud within govt. cell phone program

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by Chris Nagus / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 23 at 8:12 PM

(KMOV) – Time and time again, News 4 Investigations have exposed fraud within the government-supported cell phone program.

On Monday, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said it’s time for criminal prosecution.

Investigative Reporter Chris Nagus has been tracking this fraud for more than two years. Phones handed out like candy with no accountability, not to mention blatant fraud where employees admitted what they were doing was illegal.

Reginald Strode told News 4’s Chris Nagus he was hired by YourTel America and that his trainer taught him how to defraud the government supported cell phone program.

Strode said he was taught how to attach bogus addresses to applications when someone already had a phone and that having a phone didn’t disqualify someone from getting a phone.

“Even if they had a phone in their hand they would say is it free yeah it's free and we were encouraged or taught to give them a phone even if they had one,” Strode said.

On Monday, Claire McCaskill cited YourTel specifically and the claims made by Strode, asking the FCC to refer lifeline providers to the Department of Justice for potential prosecution if laws were violated.

McCaskill also asked the FCC to assess the maximum fine, $1.5 million to YourTel and bar them from further participation in the lifeline program.

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