On July 27, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Suspension and Initiation of Debarment Proceeding to Mr. Willard Ross Lanham. In March 2012, Lanham was convicted on one count of theft of federal funds and three counts of mail fraud stemming from his involvement as an E-rate consultant for the New York City Board of Education, resulting in the Board “being fraudulently billed more than $3.6 million…of which [Lanham] profited approximately $1.7 million.”

Lanham’s responsibilities as an E-rate consultant “included overseeing Project Connect, a project designed to bring Internet connectivity to New York City schools.” During Lanham’s trial, witnesses testified that he “1) arranged for employees of [his] 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.”

Stakeholders can view individuals and corporations who have been suspended or debarred from participating in the E-rate program here.