No Surprise: Waste, Fraud & Abuse Rampant in “Obamaphone” Program.
What goes better hand in hand than welfare and fraud? How about Obamaphones and fraud? CBS4 out of Denver broke a story last year about the egregious behavior being committed by agents of Total Call Mobile, one of the companies contracted to distribute the welfare cell phones.
In 2005, under President Bush, the Lifeline Mobile program was started as a way to help the needy get much-needed cell phones. The program would allow people without jobs to provide a cell phone number to potential employers. Since 2005 and under Obama the program blew up, which earned it the nickname of Obamaphone. In the first six months of 2014 alone the Lifeline program signed up 13 million people. But, how many of those 13 million people were truly in need is unknown.
CBS4 became aware of some alleged fraud and set out to investigate. In order to qualify for a free phone, the applicant has to be on another government assistance program, for example food stamps or Medicaid. Proof of assistance is what works to get the person an Obamaphone. What CBS4 found was that several agents from Total Call Mobile would use other people's food stamps to provide eligibility for someone else to get a phone.
After months of silence Total Call sent CBS4 a letter saying, "Total Call Mobile is outraged by the unacceptable actions shown in the broadcast. The broadcast depicted both agents and applicants seeking to improperly participate in the Lifeline program. They were both engaged in fraudulent activity … to enroll in the Lifeline program among other improper actions."
The problem with the set up of using companies like Total Call Mobile is that they are given subsidies for each person they sign up to join the program. The more people they sign up, the more money they get. The saying seems to be "give a man a fish, get lots of money. Teach a man to fish, lose money."