Cricket Communications, Inc. To Pay $2.1 Million For Overcharging Law Enforcement Agencies For Court-Ordered Wiretaps
SAN FRANCISCO – Cricket Communications, Inc., a wireless telecommunications carrier based in San Diego, California, has agreed to pay the government $2,174,432 to resolve allegations that it overcharged federal law enforcement agencies for the costs of carrying out court-ordered wiretaps and pen registers, United States Attorney Melinda Haag and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge M. Elise Chawaga, announced today.
Telecommunications carriers like Cricket are authorized by statute to recover the “reasonable expenses” they incur in providing facilities or assistance in executing a court-ordered wiretap or pen register. A pen register is a device that captures call identifying information transmitted by a particular telephone line, but not the content of the communication. A joint investigation by the Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed that Cricket overcharged federal law enforcement agencies for executing wiretaps and pen registers from 2007 until Cricket lowered its fees in 2010. The settlement agreement resolves the United States’ civil claims against Cricket based on the overbilling.
The settlement with Cricket Communications, Inc. was the result of a coordinated effort among the United States Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven J. Saltiel handled the matter on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.