Originally published: June 2, 2011
Last updated: June 2, 2011 - 8:40pm
A former owner of two Illinois-based technology companies has pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud the federal E-Rate program by providing bribes and kickbacks to school officials in Arkansas, Illinois and Louisiana.
Gloria Harper was originally charged in U.S. District Court in New Orleans on Nov. 18, 2010, for her role in the conspiracy to defraud the E-Rate program. Harper, a former co-owner of Global Networking Technologies Inc. (GNT) and former owner of Computer Training Associates (CTA), pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in New Orleans to the conspiracy charges. As a result of the Antitrust Division’s investigation into fraud and anticompetitive conduct in the E-Rate program, including today’s plea, a total of seven companies and 24 individuals have pleaded guilty, been convicted at trial or entered civil settlements. Those companies and individuals have been sentenced to pay criminal fines and restitution totaling more than $40 million. Fifteen individuals have been sentenced to serve jail time. The department said that Harper, who acted on her own behalf and on behalf of GNT and CTA, participated in the conspiracy beginning on or about December 2001 through September 2005. According to the court document, Harper participated in the conspiracy to provide bribes and kickbacks to school officials and employees responsible for the procurement of Internet access services at certain schools in Arkansas, Illinois and Louisiana. In return, those individuals ceded control of the E-Rate competitive bidding process to Harper and a co-conspirator, ultimately allowing them to ensure E-Rate contracts at these schools were awarded to their companies.
The schools and school districts affected by the conspiracy are: in Arkansas – Gould and Holly Grove public school districts; in Illinois – Antioch Center, Fairfield Center, Ingleside Center, St. Mary’s Center, Waukegan Center, Zion Center and Niles Terrace Center; and in Louisiana – All Saints School, St. Augustine High School, St. David School and St. Monica School.
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