The Enforcement Bureau (the “Bureau”) gives notice of Mr. Willard Ross Lanham's suspension from the schools and libraries universal service support mechanism (or “E-Rate Program”). Additionally, the Bureau gives notice that debarment proceedings are commencing against him. Mr. Lanham, or any person who has an existing contract with or intends to contract with him to provide or receive services in matters arising out of activities associated with or related to the schools and libraries support, may respond by filing an opposition request, supported by documentation to Joy Ragsdale, Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Investigations and Hearings Division, Room 4-C330, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
Opposition requests must be received by 30 days from the receipt of the suspension letter or September 12, 2012, whichever comes first. The Bureau will decide any opposition request for reversal or modification of suspension or debarment within 90 days of its receipt of such requests.
Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Investigations and Hearings Division, Room 4-C330, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Joy Ragsdale, Federal Communications Commission, Enforcement Bureau, Investigations and Hearings Division, Room 4-C330, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. Joy Ragsdale may be contacted by phone at (202) 418-1697 or email at Joy.Ragsdale@fcc.gov. If Ms. Ragsdale is unavailable, you may contact Ms. Theresa Cavanaugh, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, by telephone at (202) 418-1420 and by email at Terry.Cavanaugh@fcc.gov.
The Bureau has suspension and debarment authority pursuant to 47 CFR 54.8 and 47 CFR 0.111(a)(14). Suspension will help to ensure that the party to be suspended cannot continue to benefit from the schools and libraries mechanism pending resolution of the debarment process. Attached is the suspension letter, DA 12-1211, which was mailed to Mr. Lanham and released on July 27, 2012. The complete text of the notice of suspension and initiation of debarment proceedings is available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portal II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. In addition, the complete text is available on the FCC's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov. The text may also be purchased from the Commission's duplicating inspection and copying during regular business hours at the contractor, Best Copy and Printing, Inc., Portal II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B420, Washington, DC 20554, telephone (202) 488-5300 or (800) 378-3160, facsimile (202) 488-5563, or via email http://www.bcpiweb.com.
Dated: July 27, 2012.
Federal Communications Commission.
Theresa Z. Cavanaugh,
Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau.
Sent Via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested and Email
Mr. Willard Ross Lanham, c/o Stephen N. Preziosi, Law Office of Stephen N. Preziosi P.C., 570 Seventh Avenue, Ninth Floor, New York, NY 10018.
Re: Notice of Suspension and Initiation of Debarment Proceeding File No. EB-12-IH-0847
Dear Mr. Lanham: The Federal Communications Commission (Commission or FCC) has received notice of your conviction for theft of federal education funds in violation of 18 U.S.C. 666(a)(1), and mail fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341, in connection with the federal schools and libraries universal service support mechanism (E-Rate program).
Consequently, pursuant to 47 CFR 54.8, this letter constitutes official notice of your suspension from participating in activities associated with the E-Rate program. In addition, the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) hereby notifies you that it will commence debarment proceedings against you.
I. 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.
For example, section 254(h)(1)(B) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, requires E-Rate program applicants to make bona fide requests for services intended for educational purposes in order to receive E-Rate discounts.
Further, the Commission has stated that “[a] funding request may not be bona fide where a service provider has charged the beneficiary an inflated price.” 
The Commission also limits E-Rate funding to certain eligible services, which does not include consulting services.
On March 5, 2012, a jury rendered a guilty verdict convicting you on one count of theft of federal funds and three counts of mail fraud in connection with your activities as an E-Rate consultant for the New York City Department of Education (DOE).
Your responsibilities as a DOE consultant included overseeing Project Connect, a project designed to bring Internet connectivity to New York City schools.
On April 28, 2011, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District (SCI) released a report alleging, among other matters, that you had orchestrated a fraudulent invoicing and billing scheme using DOE vendors and subcontractors to overcharge DOE for Project Connect.
Testimony and documentary evidence admitted during your trial corroborates SCI's allegations. Specifically, witnesses testified that you: (1) Arranged for employees of your company, Lanham Enterprises, Inc., to work as consultants for DOE,
(2) inflated their hourly rates far above their salaries,
and (3) arranged for Project Connect subcontractors to bill those inflated rates to a Project Connect contractor using invoices that misstated the true nature of the charges.
Witnesses further testified you directed employees of that contractor to “bundle” the consultant charges with services eligible for E-Rate funding on invoices and billing spreadsheets sent to DOE in order to make it appear that the consultants were doing work associated with wiring the schools for Internet access service.
Your scheme resulted in DOE being fraudulently billed more than $3.6 million for Project Connect between 2002 and 2008, of which you profited approximately $1.7 million.
The DOE included at least a portion of these overcharges in its E-Rate funding requests for Project Connect.
Pursuant to § 54.8(b) of the Commission's rules,
upon your conviction the Bureau is required 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 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 receipt of this letter or it's 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 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.
II. 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 § 54.8(c) of the Commission's rules.
Therefore, pursuant to § 54.8(b) of the 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 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554, to the attention of Joy M. Ragsdale, Attorney Advisor, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Room 4-C330, with a copy to Theresa Z. Cavanaugh, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Room 4-C330, Federal Communications Commission. 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 12th Street SW., Room 4-C330, Washington, DC 20554, with a copy to Theresa Z. Cavanaugh, Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Room 4-C330, Washington, DC 20554. You shall also transmit a copy of your response via email 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, email, or by telephone at (202) 418-1697. You may contact me at (202) 418-1553 or at the email address noted above if Ms. Ragsdale is unavailable.
Theresa Z. Cavanaugh,
Chief, Investigations and Hearings Division, Enforcement Bureau.
[FR Doc. 2012-19813 Filed 8-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P