Published Online: April 7, 2009
Published in Print: April 8, 2009, as Former Michigan School Official Sentenced in E-Rate Fraud Case

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Former Michigan School Official Sentenced in E-Rate Fraud Case

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A former school administrator in Michigan was sentenced to nearly four years in jail after pleading guilty to a scheme that netted more than $7 million from the Ecorse public schools and the federal E-Rate program, the U.S. Department of Justice announced last month.

Douglas A. Benit, a former assistant superintendent in the Ecorse public schools, was charged with steering contracts to a company that he controlled. Money from the e-rate program is intended to subsidize Internet access and computer networks in schools.

Mr. Benit is required to repay some $1.3 million in restitution. His wife, Mary Ann Elam Benit, who was indicted along with her Mr. Benit in 2006, also pleaded guilty to fraud.

Investigations into e-rate fraud have resulted in convictions against seven companies and 18 individuals, as well as some $40 million in fines and restitution, according to the Justice Department.

Vol. 28, Issue 28, Page 4

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