A recently filed lawsuit alleges that Verizon Wireless has been knowingly overcharging the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) by millions of dollars for wireless communication services in violation of the False Claims Act (FCA). The whistleblower suit was unsealed on July 5 in a D.C. federal court. Relator OnTheGo Wireless LLC, a rate plan analysis firm, accused Verizon of falsely telling the DOD that it would give the government prices that were as good or better than what it offered to its commercial customers. However, starting with a 2006 contract to provide wireless services to different military branches, it’s alleged that Verizon routinely and knowingly charged the DOD more than its favored commercial customers, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each year.
The United States government in June declined to intervene in the suit, and U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson subsequently called for the complaint to be unsealed. OnTheGo’s suit is not the first time that Verizon has been accused of overcharging the U.S. government. The wireless company is currently urging the DC Circuit to dismiss a False Claims Act suit alleging that it overcharged several federal government agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, the DOD, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Navy, and the Federal Aviation Administration.
OnTheGo is represented by David Golden, Wayne T. Lamprey and Gordon Schnell of Constantine Cannon LLP, and Steve W. Berman and Shayne C. Stevenson of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The case is OnTheGo Wireless LLC v. Cellco Partnership et al., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.