McCaskill seeks probe into subsidized phones

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is calling for a crackdown on waste, fraud and abuse of a federal program that subsidizes Lifeline phone service to low-income customers of phone companies.

Lifeline is a program under the Universal Service Fund that has provided discounts for land-line phones to qualified, low-income customers.

In 2008, the Lifeline program was expanded to provide prepaid cell phones and discounts for cell phone services.

McCaskill said she received reports of rampant abuse in the system. She said she has some personal experience with the fraud and abuse, because she received a solicitation at her home for a free cell phone from the Lifeline program.

“The mailer did not require documentation for proof of eligibility,” McCaskill said.

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