Frontier Communications has transitioned from a rural telephone provider to today being the 4th largest provider of digital subscriber line in the U.S. The company also offers Internet and digital TV service. In recently unsealed whistleblower complaint, a Frontier subsidiary is accused of defrauding taxpayers. An insider tells us that company is cheating on taxes and some members of the public think Frontier is the epitome of “incompetence, fraud and extortion.”
Frontier Sued for Defrauding Taxpayers
A competitor sued Frontier West Virginia Inc., a subsidiary of Frontier Communications, and claimed the company defrauded taxpayers in connection with the government’s $4.7 billion Broadband Technology Opportunities Program known commonly as BTOP. The suit says that Frontier was awarded millions of dollars of grant money to extend fiber networks in rural communities but misused much of the money. (Click to read more about Frontier’s alleged fraud.)
There is more.
Telecommunications Taxes and Cell Phone Fees
An insider we spoke with claims that Frontier is engaged in other misdeeds including not properly collecting and remitting taxes and fees charged to phone subscribers. When a company collects taxes but doesn’t pay them to the state or county, they are stealing. No one likes all the fees and taxes that the government tacks on to cell phone users. Cable customers and Internet customers pay taxes too.
Those tax dollars are supposed to be promptly remitted by the phone company or Internet provider to the government. Depending on the locale, these fees are often used to fund rural access to phone service, Internet access to schools and to fund 911 dispatch services. Unfortunately, some phone companies pocket the fees. That is money coming from your pocket.
Presently we are investigating several phone companies including Frontier Communications for not remitting 911 surcharges. Depending on where you are in the country, those fees may range from a few pennies to up to $4.00 per line in Chicago. Even pennies add up when a carrier provides service to tens of thousands or millions of customers.
We are hoping to speak with someone with inside knowledge of the company, perhaps a billing clerk, regulatory affairs worker or a member of the sales staff. Information, even if a couple years old, is helpful
Whistleblower Awards for Inside Information about Fraud
Whistleblowers with inside information about fraud committed by Frontier Communications may be eligible for a cash award. Under the federal False Claims Act, companies that defraud Uncle Sam can receive steep fines. The law also allows for triple damages. We like the law because it allows private citizens to really make a difference and get paid for stepping forward.
A successful False Claims Act filing should net you between 15% and 30% of whatever the government collects from the wrongdoer. With multi-million dollar penalties common, the awards can add up quickly.
Whether your information concerns Frontier Communications or some other telecommunications business, you must act quickly. Awards are generally only paid to the first person who files a claim. Wait too long and some other insider may get the award.
The law also has important anti-retaliation provisions.
Considering becoming a whistleblower? We are here to answer your questions and let you know if you have a case.
If you have knowledge about fraud against the United States government, state government, or other types of fraud by Frontier Communications, give us a call. We have helped our whistleblower clients collect over $100 million in awards. Ready to see if you qualify for an award? Contact us online, by email () or by phone 202-800-9791. All inquiries protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept strictly confidential.
Frontier Communications and Consumer Fraud
There are few lawyers willing to handle consumer cases. Let’s be blunt. Lawyers deserve to get paid for their work and no one can properly pay a lawyer to fight a $5, $50 or even a $500 billing discrepancy. Often the only way to achieve justice is through a class action. That typically means one lawyer files a lawsuit on behalf of hundreds or even thousands of people with identical or very similar claims.
You can’t represent a car accident victims as a class action because every person has a different injury, the parties are different and the cause of the injury also differs. Let’s talk about a phony surcharge on a cell phone bill or something similar, however. There everyone has the same injury. These kinds of economic injury cases are ideal for a class action lawsuit.
Class action cases cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to prosecute. Sometimes millions. Unlike most class action firms who troll hoping to find several dozen people with an identical injury, we look for insiders as well. People who work for companies like Frontier Communications often have a unique vantage point and know where to look for documents and who to depose. When we bring a class, we often have more information than the wrongdoer suspects. That helps us get higher recoveries and move cases more quickly.
We are always looking for people with inside knowledge of consumer fraud. If you do nothing else, please call us so that we can better help others.
Frontier – the Wells Fargo of the Internet
Not every fraud case involves a loss to the government. There generally isn’t an award for simply blowing the whistle on corporate greed unless government funds are involved. Even without an award, however, it is always great to know you helped out good people and did your part to curtail senseless greed.
Recently we got a chuckle from an article that appeared in the Medium. The writer claims that like Wells Fargo, Frontier opens phony accounts for customers. In his words, Frontier Communications is “the Wells Fargo of the internet complete with fraudulent accounts and non-existing service.”
That same article also said “[Frontier Communications] feel[s] no obligation to refund any fees or correct any service. Providing nothing for over $100 month is what multiple managers have explicitly stated Frontier seeks to do indefinitely. They continue to commit their crimes ostentatiously, with arrogant impunity, and with explicitly no intention of recourse or remediation.”
A social media post tweeted, “Consumer Warning: If you have Frontier TV / Internet, check your bill ASAP. They’ve been slipping in random upgrade charges without notice.”
Frontier knows that most customers can’t afford to hire a lawyer to contest a bill. But they worry about the consumer fraud laws of some states that provide for punitive damages and / or legal fees. So what did Frontier do? They added fine print in their service contract. By signing up for TV or Internet, you waive your right to sue the company. Thankfully at least one judge ruled that the no lawsuit clause was too hidden on the terms of service agreement. The judge found that consumers who can’t easily find the no lawsuit provision, didn’t knowingly waive their rights to sue.
Unfortunately, a federal judge in California last September ruled the other way.
The law is quite unsettled about bringing class actions when customers already waived their rights to sue. Most of us – even lawyers – never read the fine print on consumer contracts. (If you did, you would be likely shocked.)
Despite many negative rulings, we are still looking for insiders at Frontier Communications with knowledge of scams and fraud being perpetrated by the company. Sometimes we can figure out a way to bring class action lawsuits even in spite of these no lawsuit provisions.
If you have inside knowledge of consumer fraud or other scams being done by Frontier please call us. We are especially interested in learning if Frontier is making telemarketing calls in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. For more information please contact us online or by email (). (We cannot take phone calls from consumers. Please emails only.) All inquiries protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept strictly confidential.