Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two plead guilty in FCC scam

Two plead guilty in FCC scam

The owners of Miami Lakes-based Innovative Communication Services for the Deaf pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to defraud the Federal Communications Commission out of more than $2.5 million.

Yosbel Buscaron, 25, and Lazaro Fernandez, 35, co-owners of Innovative Communication Services for the Deaf, were charged along with 23 others in six indictments unsealed in November.

They are alleged to have stolen millions of dollars from a program designed to help the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

The group was charged with defrauding the FCC by submitting false and fraudulent claims for voice relay service (VRS) calls. The FCC reimbursed the defendants at a rate of about $390 an hour, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

A third man, Natan Zfati, 32, a former video interpreter for New York and New Jersey-based Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interpreting Services, also pleaded guilty.

The three admitted that they conspired with others to pay individuals to make fraudulent VRS phone calls and to process fraudulent VRS phone calls that were billed to the FCC through VRS provider Viable Communications.

Each faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution. Sentencing is set for June 29.

To date, 11 individuals have pleaded guilty to their roles in defrauding the FCC.