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Nonprofit that helps homeless vets questions $5k Verizon bill

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Clark’s House, a Lakeland nonprofit that helps homeless veterans somehow racked up a $5,000 bill for usage on one internet hot spot.

And the nonprofit insists it didn’t use the hotspot – ever.

“I really just thought that it was an error,” said Cynthania Clark, Clark’s House executive director. She insists the hotspot stays locked in her cabinet drawer.

Sometimes, the hotspots are checked out to employees working in the community. But during the time in question, Clark maintains, everyone was on holiday break and the business was locked up.

“I spent a week on hold, hours on the phone with them, supervisor after supervisor after supervisor,” Clark said.

In order to use this much data, someone would have to stream about 36 hours of movies. Verizon’s data shows usage at odd hours, like in the middle of the night. Verizon says it’s impossible to hack the device so no outside could have done it.

Clark fears the bad credit mark will hinder her chances of keeping grants and attracting donations. In the end, she says, this mistake could cost veterans.

“From my perspective, I thought I thought i did everything the right way,” Clark said. “and to be told we’re being to collections. and collections is sending us letters, it’s embarrassing.”

A Verizon spokesman told WISH-TV’s sister station WLFA that the company is committed to resolving the issue so Clark, “can continue doing great work in the community.”

As of now, Verizon still says its data shows the device was used, but it is investigating the issue to find out whether there was an error. The spokeswoman said she expects an answer for Clark next week.