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FCC Chairman Wheeler Announces Universal Service Fund Strike Force

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Released: July 14, 2014
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NEWS

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.

Internet:

http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.

See MCI v. FCC, 515 F.2d 385 (D.C. Cir. 1974).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:

July 14, 2014

Neil Grace, 202-418-0506

E-mail: neil.grace@fcc.gov

FCC CHAIRMAN WHEELER ANNOUNCES

UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND STRIKE FORCE

Dedicated to Combatting Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Washington, D.C. – FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the creation of a Universal Service Fund

(USF) Strike Force—housed in the agency’s Enforcement Bureau—dedicated to combatting waste, fraud,

and abuse in Commission funding programs. The USF Strike Force will be led by Loyaan Egal, who

joins the FCC after serving as a senior Assistant United States Attorney in the Fraud and Public

Corruption Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

“The Commission is committed to aggressively rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse,” said Chairman

Wheeler. “The USF Strike Force expands the Commission’s activities, including those of the FCC Office

of Inspector General, to protect the integrity of the Universal Service Fund and ensure that the American

people’s money is wisely spent.”

Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief of the Enforcement Bureau, said “The USF Strike Force is a force

multiplier for the FCC’s efforts to combat waste, fraud, and abuse.

Loyaan Egal is an experienced public

corruption and fraud prosecutor who will lead the Enforcement Bureau’s augmented efforts to police the

integrity of USF programs and funds. The Bureau appreciates the work of the Inspector General and

looks forward to coordinating with that office.”

The USF Strike Force—which boosts the Bureau’s existing enforcement operations—will focus on

safeguarding the Universal Service Fund and the other funding programs the FCC oversees. The Strike

Force will investigate violations of the Communications Act, the Commission’s rules, and other laws

bearing on USF programs and contributions.

In addition to leading the FCC’s enforcement activities in

these areas, the Strike Force will coordinate with the FCC’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), the U.S.

Department of Justice, and other law enforcement agencies to prosecute unlawful conduct. The Strike

Force’s investigations and activities will promote future compliance, protect those who depend on the

funds for access, and safeguard contributors to the funds from the unlawful acts of others.

The FCC established the USF in 1997 to fulfill the universal service mandates contained in the

Telecommunications Act of 1996. All providers of telecommunications service contribute to the Fund

based on their interstate end user revenues. These contributions support four separate universal service

programs: (1) Lifeline (discounted service for low-income consumers); (2) E-rate (discounted service and

internet access for schools and libraries); (3) the Connect America Fund / High-Cost Program (supporting

service in rural and other high-cost areas); and (4) Rural Health Care. In 2012, aggregate USF

disbursements exceeded $8.7 billion.

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Mr. Egal served for nearly a decade as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Offices for the

Southern District of New York and District of Columbia. While in the Southern District of New York,

Mr. Egal led complex investigations and successfully prosecuted cases involving international narcotics

trafficking and money laundering, bribery and procurement fraud in connection with the U.S. military’s

presence in Iraq, and campaign finance fraud concerning the City of New York’s public matching

campaign funds program. While in the District of Columbia, Mr. Egal served as a lead prosecutor in an

investigation that resulted in the successful prosecution of several individuals for campaign finance and

tax fraud related to a scheme to influence federal, state, and local elections through illegal and unreported

financial contributions.

Mr. Egal clerked for the Hon. Alia Moses on the United States District Court for

the Western District of Texas. He is a graduate of St. John’s University and Howard University School of

Law, where he was managing editor of the Howard Law Journal.

Mr. Egal will serve as Director of the USF Strike Force. He will report to Enforcement Bureau Acting

Chief Travis LeBlanc.

While still in its foundational stage, the Strike Force will continue to grow to

include experienced prosecutors, investigators, and forensic analysts. The launch of the Strike Force

follows the Enforcement Bureau’s announcement last week that Katherine Winfree, Chief Deputy

Attorney General of Maryland, has joined the Bureau as Chief of Staff.

The Enforcement Bureau is the FCC’s largest bureau and the primary organizational unit responsible for

enforcement of the Communications Act and other communications statutes, the Commission’s rules,

Commission orders, and the terms and conditions of FCC authorizations. The Bureau particularly focuses

on competition, consumer protection, communications funding programs, and public safety.

The Strike

Force will augment, but be separate from, the efforts of OIG.

-FCC-

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