News & Press Releases

February 21, 2020 - DOJ Statement
Kentucky Man Pleads Guilty to Concealing Decade-Long E-Rate Wire Fraud Scheme
Mark J. Whitaker pleaded guilty to misprision of wire fraud. From 2004 until August 13, 2014, Whitaker actively concealed a scheme directed by his co-defendant, Charles "Chuck" Jones, to defraud the federal E-Rate Program. According to the Superseding Indictment, the E-Rate Program allegedly paid Jones and his companies approximately $6.9 million as a result of the fraud. Wire fraud and conspiracy charges against Chuck Jones are still pending. The matter was investigated by the FCC Office of Inspector General and the FBI and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.
February 12, 2020 - DOJ Statement
Seven Defendants Plead Guilty to Defrauding Millions of Dollars from E-Rate Program that Provided Technology Funding for Rockland County Schools
Defendants charged with defrauding the E-rate program all pled guilty to conspiring against the United States and admitted their roles in a massive scheme that stole millions of dollars from the program. The matter was investigated by the FCC Office of Inspector General, FBI and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
January 30, 2020 - DOJ Statement
Dallas Charter School CEO Convicted in Kickback Scheme Sentenced to 7+ Years
Dallas charter school Nova Academy CEO Donna H. Woods, was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for her role in an E-rate corruption scandal. Her co-conspirator, Donatus Anyanwu, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in July and sentenced to 30 months in prison. The pair were also declared to be jointly and severally liable for restitution to the FCC. The matter was investigated by the FCC Office of Inspector General and FBI Dallas Field Office and was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
January 28, 2020 - Advisory
Advisory Notice Regarding Lifeline Usage Compliance
FCC, OIG Press Release
OIG issues this advisory letter to alert Lifeline carriers, consumers and the public to the potential for widespread carrier non-compliance with the Lifeline usage rule.
December 16, 2019 - DOJ Press Release
CEO John Comito of Staten Island-based AutoExec Computer Systems, Inc. was charged in connection with mail and wire fraud of approximately $426,000 in federal E-rate program funds
From 2013 to 2017, 26 elementary, middle and high schools located in the Diocese of Brooklyn contracted with AutoExec to provide telecommunications equipment and services. At least eight schools received no equipment or services, and the remaining schools received partial, substandard or non-approved equipment and services. In total, Comito overbilled the E-rate program, and defrauded the program and schools, in the amount of approximately $426,000. If convicted, Comito faces a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment on each count of mail fraud and wire fraud. The FCC's Office of Inspector General investigated this matter, with other law enforcement partners. "An important mission of the Office of Inspector General is to investigate allegations of fraud related to the E-rate Program," stated FCC Inspector General Hunt.
November 7, 2019 - DOJ Statement
Two plead guilty to wrongdoing in connection to federal E-rate program funds totaling over $3.9 million
A former executive director of the South Central Ohio Computer Association (SCOCA) pleaded guilty to submitting false claims to the federal government and a former information technologies director of the Diocese of Columbus Office of Catholic Schools pleaded guilty to making false statements. The former director of SCOCA unlawfully delayed and/or withheld E-rate reimbursements to schools, but continued to invoice the E-rate program as if all program rules and regulations had been followed. Ultimately, SCOCA failed to reimburse schools for a year of E-rate reimbursements and instead used these funds for SCOCA operating costs. The missing reimbursements to schools and other debts incurred by SCOCA, which SCOCA-member schools were required to cover, totaled over $3.2 million. The former IT director of the Diocese of Columbus Office of Catholic Schools negotiated a five-year contract with SCOCA for internet services, which was E-rate eligible, but knowingly included inflated charges and funding for ineligible E-rate expenses in the contract. The IT director falsely certified in documents submitted to USAC that all ineligible services had been disclosed. Over the course of the five-year contract, more than $700,000 was for undisclosed purposes. The FCC's Office of Inspector General investigated this matter in conjunction with the FBI, the Ohio Auditor of State and the United States Department of Education Office of Inspector General. The matter was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio.
October, 7 2019 - DOJ Statements & Indictment
Dallas Charter School CEO involved in Contractor Kickback Scheme Found Guilty
After an investigation by the FCC Office of Inspector General, a Dallas charter school CEO involved in the E-rate program was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and three individual counts of wire fraud announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. The original indictment was unsealed on 01/04/2018, after the arrest and arraignment of defendants.
April, 16, 2019 - Advisory
Inspector General Issues Advisory Regarding Fraud in Lifeline Program
OIG issues this advisory letter to alert Lifeline carriers, carrier agents, consumers, and the public regarding pervasive, fraudulent practices that violate program rules and divert monies from the intended beneficiaries of the program.
February 6, 2019 - DOJ Statement
Indictment for conspiracy to commit wire fraud to defraud the E-rate Program
Two co-conspirators indicted on conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud charges to defraud the E-rate Program, based on an investigation by the FCC Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The DoJ indictment alleges the co-conspirators utilized an unindicted co-conspirator's position with schools in Tennessee and Missouri to violate E-rate rules, including making false representation that schools had been invoiced the proper co-pay amounts. These false representations were made to obtain funds from the program.
September 6, 2018 - DOJ Statement
Florida-Based Broadcasting Company Ordered to Pay $910,700 to Federal Communications Commission for False Claims Act (FCA) violation
The FCC Office of Inspector General presented the case to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for pursuit under the FCA. The case resulted in a settlement against Newman Broadcasting for claiming a 35% bidding credit for FM radio frequencies in Florida for which the company was not entitled.
August 29, 2018 - DOJ Statement
Vendors, Consultants, And School Administrator Charged In Wide-Ranging Scheme To Defraud Federal "E Rate" Subsidy Program of $14 million
After referral from the FCC Office of Inspector General and an extensive investigation, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced the indictment and arrests of seven defendants -- two E-rate consultants, four E-rate service providers and one private school official -- on wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges in connection with schemes that, from 2009 through 2016, defrauded the E-rate program of over $14 million.
January 10, 2011 - FCC Press Release
David Hunt Named Inspector General

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