MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A Kentucky man has pleaded guilty to a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme targeting a federal program that gives money to rural schools for internet access, Tennessee prosecutors said. .
Charles A. “Chuck” Jones, 51, pleaded guilty in federal court in Memphis to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release Friday. He faces up to 20 years in prison when sentencing is scheduled for June 1.
Prosecutors said Jones targeted schools in Missouri and Tennessee that benefited from the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate program, which provides money to needy schools for internet access and telecommunications services.
Over a period of 10 years, Jones paid bribes to an E-Rate consultant working with the schools involved in the case. Jones, one of his employees, and the school’s E-Rate consultant lied on documents sent to the E-Rate program, using schools as vehicles to fraudulently obtain money for Jones, prosecutors said.
The loss for the E-Rate program was about $6.9 million, prosecutors said.
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