Former FCC BDAC advisor Pierce arrested on fraud charges

House panel backs broadband measure despite concerns about FCC rules     by Angela Underwood |  Apr 16 2018

House panel backs broadband measure despite concerns about FCC rules by Angela Underwood | Apr 16 2018

Elisabeth Ann Pierce, appointed past 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.

Elizabeth Pierce, the former CEO of Anchorage, Alaska-based submarine fiber cable provider Quintillion, raised over $250 million from two New York-based investment companies using forged contracts with other companies guaranteeing hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenue. In addition to serving as Quintillion's CEO, Ajit Pai also chose Pierce to chair the new Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). She allegedly convinced two investment companies that the firm had secured contracts for a high-speed fibre system set to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in future revenue, the Manhattan US attorney's office and Federal Bureau of Investigation said. Her plan was to help expand high-speed internet coverage in Alaska and to better connect it to the rest of the United States.

"As it turned out, those sales agreements were worthless because the customers had not signed them", said USA attorney Geoffrey Berman said in prepared remarks, according to a WSJ report. "As a result of Pierce's deception, the investment companies were left with a system that is worth far less than Pierce had led them to believe".

Pierce has been charged with wire fraud.

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 Quintillion last August and stepped down from the BDAC in September.

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