School computer fraud costs NEC $20 million in settlement

School computer fraud costs NEC $20 million in settlement
— From the

Marin Independent Journal

Criminal investigations into corruption and waste in the E-rate program, a federal initiative designed to bring Internet access to poor schools and libraries, yielded the biggest legal settlement to date yesterday.

NEC Business Network Solutions, a subsidiary of NEC, the computer giant, agreed 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…

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