E-Rate fraud lands consultant in jail

The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that a former education consultant from California has been sentenced to serve seven-and-a-half years in prison for rigging bids and defrauding a U.S. government program designed to help schools and libraries in poor areas connect to the Internet.

Judy N. Green, of Temecula, California, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. A jury there found her guilty on 22 counts of fraud, bid rigging and conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to technology projects funded by the E-Rate program.

Green served as a consultant for E-Rate programs in Arkansas, California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

In September, Green was convicted of using schemes to defraud the E-Rate program of funds by inflating the cost of equipment and services in order to pay for ineligible equipment and services, the DOJ said. Green also misrepresented schools’ ability and willingness to pay their portions of the cost of the projects, the DOJ said.

Green also rigged the bids on projects in favour of vendors who had relationships with her, according to the DOJ. Green’s fraud and bid-rigging schemes involved more than 25 projects from 1998 to 2003, the DOJ said.

The DOJ Antitrust Division has an ongoing investigation into fraud and anticompetitive conduct in the E-Rate program. Six companies and 12 individuals have either pleaded guilty, have been convicted or entered civil settlements, and they have been fined or agreed to pay about US$40 million. Trials are pending in three E-Rate cases, and one defendant is an international fugitive, the DOJ said.

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