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SENT VIA CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
Mr. Marvin Mitch Freeman
1408 Northhill Street
Selma, CA 93662
Re: Notice of Suspension and Initiation of Debarment Proceeding
File No. EB-IHD-14-00015659
Dear Mr. Freeman:
The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) has received notice of your conviction of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C § 371, a conviction that arose out of activities associated with the federal schools and libraries universal service support mechanism (E-Rate program). Consequently, pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 54.8, this letter constitutes official notice of your suspension from the E-Rate program. In addition, the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) hereby notifies you that the Bureau will commence debarment proceedings against you.
* Notice of Suspension
The Commission has established procedures to prevent persons who have "defrauded the government or engaged in similar acts through activities associated with or related to the [E-Rate program]" from receiving the benefits associated with that program. The statutory provisions and Commission rules relating to the E-Rate program are designed to ensure that all E-Rate funds are used for their intended purpose. Sections 54.503 and 54.511 of the Commission's rules require that solicitations for E-Rate services be based on a fair and open competitive bidding process that is free from conflicts of interest.
On November 1, 2010, you pled guilty to conspiring with others to defraud the E-Rate program. During the course of that conspiracy, you used your silk screening business, Twisted Head Design, as a shell company to circumvent the E-Rate program's competitive bidding rules. Specifically, you conspired with Gregory Paul Styles, the Management Information Systems Director for the Chowchilla Elementary School District (CESD), to use Twisted Head Design to bid on CESD's E-Rate contracts. Mr. Styles then selected Twisted Head Design's bids knowing that the company was unqualified to perform E-Rate work, performed the work himself or through his subcontractors, and billed USAC for the work. As a result of your fraudulent scheme, USAC disbursed $787,950 to you, a substantial portion of which you forwarded to Mr. Styles, who deposited it in his bank account.
On March 17, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California sentenced you to 36 months of probation with conditions, including 200 hours of community service. The court also ordered you to pay $40,000 in restitution to CESD and a $100 special assessment.
Pursuant to Section 54.8(b) of the Commission's rules, upon your conviction for theft of E-Rate funds, the Bureau is required to suspend you from participating in any activities associated with or related to the E-Rate program, including receiving funds or discounted services through the E-Rate program, or consulting with, assisting, or advising applicants or service providers regarding the E-Rate program. Your suspension becomes effective upon either your receipt of this letter or its publication in the Federal Register, whichever comes first.
In accordance with the Commission's suspension and debarment rules, you may contest this suspension or the scope of this suspension by filing arguments, with any relevant documents, within thirty (30) calendar days of your receipt of this letter or its publication in the Federal Register, whichever comes first. Such requests, however, will not ordinarily be granted. The Bureau may reverse or limit the scope of a suspension only upon a finding of extraordinary circumstances. The Bureau will decide any request to reverse or modify a suspension within ninety (90) calendar days of its receipt of such request.
* Initiation of Debarment Proceedings
In addition to requiring your immediate suspension from the E-Rate program, your conviction is cause for debarment as defined in Section 54.8(c) of the Commission's rules. Therefore, pursuant to Section 54.8(b) of the Commission's rules, your conviction requires the Bureau to commence debarment proceedings against you.
As with the suspension process, you may contest the proposed debarment or the scope of the proposed debarment by filing arguments and any relevant documentation within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of this letter or its publication in the Federal Register, whichever comes first. The Bureau, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances, will notify you of its decision to debar within ninety (90) calendar days of receiving any information you may have filed. If the Bureau decides to debar you, its decision will become effective upon either your receipt of a debarment notice or publication of the decision in the Federal Register, whichever comes first.
If and when your debarment becomes effective, you will be prohibited from participating in activities associated with or related to the E-Rate program for three years from the date of debarment. The Bureau may set a longer debarment period or extend an existing debarment period if necessary to protect the public interest.
Please direct any response, if sent by messenger or hand delivery, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12[th] Street, S.W., Room TW-A325, Washington, D.C. 20554 and to the attention of Joy M. Ragsdale, Attorney Advisor, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Room 4-C330, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12[th] Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554 with a copy to Theresa Z. Cavanaugh, Division Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Room 4-C330, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12[th] Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554. All messenger or hand delivery filings must be submitted without envelopes. If sent by commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Express Mail and Priority Mail), the response must be sent to the Federal Communications Commission, 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, Maryland 20743. If sent by USPS First Class, Express Mail, or Priority Mail, the response should be addressed to Joy Ragsdale, Attorney Advisor, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12[th] Street, S.W., Room 4-C330, Washington, D.C. 20554, with a copy to Theresa Z. Cavanaugh, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12[th] Street, S.W., Room 4-C330, Washington, D.C. 20554. You shall also transmit a copy of your response via e-mail to Joy M. Ragsdale, Joy.Ragsdale@fcc.gov, and to Theresa Z. Cavanaugh, Terry.Cavanaugh@fcc.gov.
If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Ragsdale via U.S. postal mail, e-mail, or by telephone at (202) 418-1697. You may contact me at (202) 418-1553 or at the e-mail address noted above if Ms. Ragsdale is unavailable.
Theresa Z. Cavanaugh
Investigations and Hearings Division
cc: Johnnay Schrieber, Universal Service Administrative Company (via e-mail)
Rashann Duvall, Universal Service Administrative Company (via e-mail)
Mark J. McKeon, United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California (via e-mail)