Former FCC Broadband Panel Chair Arrested for Fraud

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 17, 2018

Elisabeth Ann Pierce, appointed previous year by FCC chairman Ajit Pai to chair the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) has been arrested on charges of fraud and forgery, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pierce forged signatures on contracts to make it appear as though she had secured sales agreements for the new systems. The sales agreements, worth a total of around Dollars 1 billion, were, however, worthless, with Pierce allegedly forging counterparty signatures, the attorney's office said. Pierce was charged with wire fraud last Thursday and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

In her time at Quintillion, Pierce was a vocal advocate for bringing internet access to many remote regions of Alaska. In addition to serving as Quintillion's CEO, Ajit Pai also chose Pierce to chair the new Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). The goal of the BDAC was to improve high-speed internet coverage and reduce regulations required for making infrastructure improvements.

Quintillion, which operates a 1,400-mile subsea and terrestrial fibre system, said in a statement that it self-reported the alleged actions of Pierce to the US Justice Department and that it has been cooperating with the ongoing investigation. Pierce resigned from her role as Quintillion CEO last August after investigators found she was engaged in a scam that tricked investors into pouring money into a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme. At this time, Quintillion does not believe the investigation will affect any services or their plans to expand coverage in Alaska.

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