The owner of an internet services company who was charged with defrauding the eRate program last November pleaded guilty May 22 in Manhattan federal court to one count of conspiracy.
John Angelides, 65, owner of Connect2 Internet Networks Inc., is expected to get one-and-a-half to two years in prison at his sentencing on Sept. 10.
Under the federal eRate program, the government pays up to 90 percent of the bill for telecommunications services, internet access, and certain internal connections for eligible schools and libraries, while applicants must pay the remaining cost themselves.
The government said Angelides gave seven schools in New York and New Jersey free passes on their 10-percent payments in 2000 and 2001 and faked checks and invoices from the schools so his company could collect its 90-percent share.
“I knew my conduct was wrongful,” Angelides told U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Griesa.
Under a plea agreement, Angelides, who lives on Staten Island, will pay the government about $290,000. He will not be allowed to travel outside the country before sentencing.
Charges of conspiracy against two other Connect2 employees were dropped in exchange for lesser pleas.
Oscar Alvarez, 50, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty to witness tampering and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 12. Gary Blum, 60, of Queens, pleaded guilty to a bribery charge and is scheduled to be sentenced July 31.
A fourth Connect2 employee, John Dotson, had all charges against him dismissed May 21 by U.S. District Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox.