A Michigan businessman has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with the federal E-Rate program, an initiative launched by the Federal Communications Commission to provide subsidies to economically disadvantaged schools and libraries.
Jeremy R. Sheets pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud in connection with the E-Rate program funding applications of two school districts in Michigan. The department said Sheets engaged in the wire fraud beginning in or about December 2001 and continuing until about December 2007.
Sheets, the president and part owner of an Internet and technology services company, violated E-Rate program rules by compensating two school districts for their share of E-Rate expenses. In addition, he used E-Rate funds to buy undisclosed items, some of which were not eligible for E-Rate funding.
The Antitrust Division's investigation into fraud and anticompetitive conduct in the E-Rate program has resulted in a total of seven companies and 20 individuals pleading guilty or having been convicted and found guilty. Fifteen individuals have been sentenced to jail time.
Sheets now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.