By Matt Richtel and Gary Rivlin, MacNewsWorld 05/31/04
Criminal investigations into corruption and waste in the so-called E-rate program, a federal program to bring Internet access to poor schools and libraries, have yielded the biggest legal settlement to date.
NEC Business Network Solutions, a subsidiary of the computer giant NEC, agreed on Thursday to plead guilty to two federal felony counts, one for wire fraud and one for antitrust violation, and to pay $20.7 million in fines and restitution.
The settlement, announced in federal court in San Francisco, comes amid increasing scrutiny of the multibillion-dollar E-rate program. Congressional hearings on waste and fraud in the program may be conducted as early as next month, according to congressional staff members. Lawyers involved in the case said there were likely to be additional, and even larger, settlements with other technology vendors.
Will the intensified e-rate scrutiny result in greater scrutiny of Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance?