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Sprint to pay $15.5M to settle case over wiretapping costs

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Sprint Communications has agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the telephone carrier overcharged the U.S. government to collect and deliver information gathered under court-ordered wiretaps.

The settlement announced late Thursday revolves around a dispute about how Sprint Communications Inc. billed the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and several other federal agencies for its wiretapping expenses.

The government alleged that Sprint had included its financing costs and other items that didn't qualify for reimbursement under Federal Communications Commission regulations.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco federal court 13 months ago, had alleged the Sprint had inflated its wiretapping costs by 58 percent from 2007 to 2010, resulting in false expense claims totaling $21 million.

Sprint, which is based in Overland Park, Kansas, had denied the allegations.

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