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AT&T Pays $1.4 Million to Settle Claim That It Took Money From Poor Schools

(CN) - AT&T Missouri will pay Uncle Sam $1.4 million to settle claims that it cheated a federal program for needy schools and libraries. AT&T used bribes, lies, fixed bids and collusion to suck money from the FCC's E-Rate program, which helps poor schools and libraries connect children to the Internet, according to the complaint.

AT&T fka Southwestern Bell Telephone violated the False Claims Act by providing false information, engaging in noncompetitive bidding for E-Rate contracts, colluding with officials in the Kansas City, Mo., School District to award contracts to AT&T, extending contracts in violation of E-Rate rules and providing meals and other bribes to school officials, according to the complaint.

The E-Rate is supported by fees collected from telephone users.

American Fiber Systems filed the False Claims Act complaint against AT&T in Missouri. American Fiber will receive $195,000 as part of the settlement.

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