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Feds Charge Former Telecom Exec With E-Rate Fraud
Sunday, January 1, 2006
A federal grand jury has indicted Rafael G. Adame on nine counts of wire fraud in connection with what federal authorities said was a practice of defrauding the E-Rate program. Operated by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) on behalf of the FCC, the E-Rate Program provides funds to extend Internet access to schools and libraries. Since it was implemented 10 years ago, the program has been the subject of numerous allegations of fraud and misuse. Adame is the 14th person to be charged in E-Rate fraud cases, and 12 companies have also been charged. Adame was the owner of ATE Tel, a telecommunications company in Texas that provided goods and services to the Weslaco Independent School District. Authorities said that Adame submitted fraudulent invoices totaling more than $140,000. Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett said, "Committing fraud upon the E-Rate program harms underprivileged school districts."