WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) —
The Federal Communications Commission recently announced plans to fine Network
Services Solutions and its chief executive officer $21,691,499 for alleged violations
involving the Universal Service Fund Rural Health Care Program (RHC).
According to the FCC, the
company violated competitive bidding rules, forged documents to fund the program
and violated federal wire fraud statute. In addition to the fine, the FCC
expects to order the company to refund $3.5 million in improper payments that
it had received through the program.
“Forgery, bribery, bid
rigging and fraud are absolutely unacceptable in any federal program,” said FCC’s enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc. “Today the commission calls on
Network Services Solutions and its CEO to account for any misuse of federal
funds in this vital program that assists rural communities with access to
critical services for health care.”
The Rural Health Care
Program provides funding to eligible health care providers for
telecommunications broadband services in an effort to improve health care
quality for rural citizens.
This case marks the first FCC
enforcement action involving the RHC program.