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The original item was published from 12/8/2015 4:54:39 PM to 12/8/2015 4:56:48 PM.

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Posted on: December 8, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Comptroller Maragos: Verizon Improperly Withheld $467K from County’s Emergency 911

Mineola, NY- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released a review of the County’s Emergency Telephone (“E911”) System surcharge revenues at the request of the Nassau County Police Department. The audit found Verizon underpaid the County $466,919 from 2001 to 2014. During these years, Verizon withheld higher administrative fees than allowed by law on the surcharges collected from residents’ monthly phone bills. 

“We were very disappointed to find that one of our biggest and trusted utilities appears to have skimmed money collected from our residents for payment to the County,” Comptroller Maragos said. “This behavior is especially egregious as it is collected to defray the costs in providing the County with an emergency 911 system.” 

The Comptroller’s review was requested by the Police Department who had noticed the revenue discrepancy in the monthly Verizon statements. The audit noted that from the period 2001 through 2013, Verizon improperly deducted an amount ranging from 1% to 3% beyond the 2% administrative fee permitted by law. The overall amount added up to $466,919 after a small overpayment in 2014. This amount could go higher as 27 months of detailed records were not available during the period 2001 to 2005.

The Comptroller’s Office recommends that the Police Department work with the County Attorney to take the necessary legal action to collect from Verizon the total amounts underpaid. The Police Department should also obtain and review the receivable data for the 27 months that were not available during the audit and determine if there were excess amounts withheld during that period that are due to the County.

The excess withholding of fees could have been detected much sooner and corrected had the Police Department followed up to obtain and review the required annual accounting. The Comptroller’s Office recommends that the Police Department take the necessary steps to ensure that the annual accountings of the E911 surcharge revenue collected are obtained from all landline, wireless and VoIP service suppliers in a timely manner and are reviewed as an additional means of determining that each service provider correctly remitted all amounts due to the County.

For a copy of the report please connect with Nassau County Comptroller Maragos Online:

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