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Oklahoma telephone company Icon Telecom Inc. and owner plead guilty in fraud case

Icon Telecom Inc. and President Wes Yui Chew pleaded guilty to felony charges stemming from a multimillion scheme to defraud a federal telephone subsidy program for low-income customers.
By Jay F. Marks, Business Writer Modified: June 12, 2014 at 10:16 pm •  Published: June 13, 2014

An Oklahoma telephone company and its owner pleaded guilty Thursday to charges stemming from a scheme to defraud a federal subsidy program out of more than $25 million.

Icon Telecom Inc. President Wes Yui Chew admitted the company submitted fabricated forms to the Universal Service Administrative Co. as part of an audit into its involvement in the Lifeline program, which subsidizes cellphone service for low-income customers.

Chew, 53, also admitted he moved more than $20 million from an Icon bank account to his personal account. He acknowledged the money was derived from the fraud scheme.

Icon was convicted of making false statements on 58 customer certification forms, which carries up to five years of probation and a $250,000 fine. Chew faces up to 10 years in prison and a hefty fine after being convicted of money laundering.

Icon and Chew must pay restitution in the case, which could add up to more than $27 million, according to their plea agreements with federal prosecutors in Oklahoma City.

Authorities seized that amount last fall from three bank accounts controlled by Chew. The money will be credited toward the restitution owed by Icon and Chew, according to the plea agreements.

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