Jun 22, 2011 7:24 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former co-owner of an Illinois-based technology company has been sentenced to one year in prison for his role in a plot to bribe school officials to secure federally subsidized contracts for Internet access and telecommunications services.
U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey in New Orleans also on Tuesday ordered Tyrone Pipkin to pay a $6,000 fine. Pipkin pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in March.
Federal prosecutors say Pipkin is one of 24 people who have pleaded guilty or been convicted of charges stemming from a Justice Department probe of fraud involving the federal E-Rate program.
School officials in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois and Louisiana allegedly ceded control of the program's competitive bidding process to Pipkin and others so they could ensure school contracts would be awarded to their companies.