Thursday, April 20, 2006
A former school district official in South Carolina was indicted on twelve counts of mail and wire fraud related to embezzling funds from the federal government through the E-Rate program, which provides funds to disadvantaged school districts to pay for communications networks and internet access for students and teachers. Cynthia Ayer was technology director for the Bamberg County School District, and the charges arise from funneling money from the grants through a company that she set up. According to a Department of Justice press release (here):
[F]rom April 1, 1999, until Feb. 1, 2003, Ayer used her position as the technology director of the school district to award technology contracts to her company, Go Between Communications, by submitting fraudulent applications for E-Rate funding of more than $3.5 million to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Universal Service Company (USAC) without a competitive bidding process. The indictment further charges that, as a result of her scheme to defraud the E-Rate program, Ayer fraudulently obtained $468,496 in payments from USAC.