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SENT VIA CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
Ms. Donna P. English
225 Warren Road
Michigan City, IN 46360
Re: Notice of Suspension and Initiation of Debarment Proceeding
File No. EB-IHD-14-00015686
Dear Ms. English:
The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) has received notice of your conviction for several offenses, including mail and wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C §§ 1341 and 1343, arising 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 E-Rate funds are used for their intended purpose. Schools may receive E-Rate program funding for eligible goods and services by filing application forms, seeking competitive bids, and selecting the most cost-effective vendor. The E-Rate program rules prohibit an E-Rate vendor or anyone associated with an E-Rate vendor from participating in the application process or vendor selection.
In December 2010, you pled guilty to knowingly devising a scheme to fraudulently obtain money from the E-Rate program. You perpetrated this scheme as the owner of Project Managers, Inc. (PMI), a self-styled information technology consulting company in Michigan City, Indiana, that purported to provide technological services to and assist the River Forest Community School Corporation (RFCSC) in its efforts to qualify for E-Rate funding. Specifically, from 2002 through 2007, you violated the E-Rate program rules by completing, submitting, and fraudulently certifying E-Rate program applications (FCC Forms 470, 471, 474, and 486) on behalf of RFCSC. In addition, you submitted false invoices to and received payment from RFCSC and USAC for a Cisco SMARTnet network maintenance agreement, Watchguard Internet Security Program Renewal, and technical service hours that you never provided to RFCSC. You also sought cash advances from RFCSC for your purported E-Rate services, but never repaid the advances once the E-Rate program paid you.
In October 2011, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana sentenced you to 27 months imprisonment followed by three years supervised release. The court also ordered you to pay $213,064 in restitution and a $400 special assessment.
Pursuant to Section 54.8(b) of the Commission's rules, your conviction requires the Bureau to suspend you from participating in any activities associated with or related to the
E-Rate program, including the receipt of 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)
Jonathan M. Minkus, Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus (via e-mail)
Toi Denise Houston, United States Attorney's Office, Hammond, IN (via e-mail)
Jennifer Dixton, United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (via e-mail)