Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has announced Verizon New England has paid more than $1.3 million to resolve allegations it overcharged the state for telecom services.
Coakley, through a statement, said the settlement resolved a pending lawsuit in Hampshire Superior Court and requires the company to make additional payment offers to communities in the state, as well as other public sector entities that were affected by the alleged overbilling.
The AG’s office said Verizon invoiced government entities for a variety of services at rates higher than those permitted by an existing state contract over a six year period.
Specifically, Coakley alleges Verizon overbilled for local calling usage, regional toll service, flat rate business lines, flat rate trunks and business listings between September 2006 and October 2012.
The alleged overbilling was brought to light by a lawsuit from a whistleblower. The AG, as well as the state’s Inspector General, consequently investigated the matter.
Verizon, through company spokesman Philip Santoro, released the following statement regarding the settlement:
“After a thorough review, Verizon and the Attorney General have agreed to settle certain billing issues under a now-expired state contract. We have a long history of providing reliable, cost-efficient services and promptly addressing issues that can arise under agreements as complex and wide-ranging as the state’s blanket contracts. Verizon values its relationship with the Commonwealth and looks forward to continuing it for years to come.