The Commission Creates A Fraud Division
On August 12, 2019 the FCC created a new Fraud Division within the Enforcement Bureau. The mission of the Fraud Division is to uncover, investigate, and prosecute attempts to commit waste, fraud, and abuse within the Commission’s universal service funds, including the high cost fund, the E-rate fund, the low-income fund, and the rural healthcare fund. In particular, the Commission is concerned that given the billions of dollars a year dispersed by these funds, there is an enormous temptation for unscrupulous actors to collect monies to which they are not entitled.
The Fraud Division will be staffed by existing Enforcement Bureau personnel, many of whom are experienced federal, state, and local prosecutors. This new Division closely resembles the Universal Service Strikeforce which was established during Chairman Wheeler’s tenure at the FCC. While it is unclear whether the Fraud Division will announce its presence by immediately launching a number of high-profile investigations, it seems hard to believe that a division staffed by experienced prosecutors will remain silent for long. Stay tuned.