Federal Grand Jury Indicts Nova Charter School Chief Executive Officer and a Dallas Man for Conspiracy to Commit Wire and Mail Fraud
DALLAS – An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas last month, and unsealed earlier this month, charges Donna H. Woods, 63, of DeSoto, Texas, and Donatus I. Anyanwu, 59, of Dallas, Texas, with offenses related to a scheme to defraud a program used by needy schools to obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access, announced Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Woods is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and three counts of wire fraud. Anyanwu is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and two counts of wire fraud. Both defendants will remain on bond pending trial, which is set for March 5, 2018.
The indictment alleges that Woods, the Chief Executive Officer of Nova Charter School (Nova), and Anyanwu, the owner of ADI Engineering, Inc. (ADI), devised a scheme to defraud the Federal Communications Commission’s “E-Rate” program, which helps schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access. Woods used her position at Nova to select ADI as Nova’s E-Rate service provider, a bid worth approximately $478,000. In return for ADl’s selection as Nova’s E-Rate service provider, Woods received a kickback of at least $5,000 from Anyanwu.
The indictment further alleges that Woods and Anyanwu perpetuated the fraud by falsifying forms indicating that Nova had complied with E-Rate program rules and that no kickbacks were paid. Over the course of the conspiracy, ADI was paid approximately $337,951.06 in E-Rate discount funds that it was not entitled to receive.
An indictment is merely an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, however, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation that would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit to the U.S. any property traceable to the offense.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell Fusco and Marcus Busch are prosecuting the case.
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