THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — A number of people were sentenced in the past few months following their conviction of involvement in a widespread scheme to defraud the federal government. Deaf video relay businesses owned and run by deaf and hearing people deliberately over billed the FCC for relay calls they did not make or made fraudulently.
The FCC set aside money for video relay services (VRS) to provide video interpreting services for deaf callers needing to phone hearing people. These thugs tapped into that loosely regulated pot of taxpayer money and drained it of upwards of $50 million dollars. As a result of this greed, the VRS program is perhaps jeopardized. The final fallout from this has yet to occur.
At this point, half of the 25-odd people involved have been sentenced with others still awaiting court sentencing decisions and/or trials. It is also possible more people will be charged at a later date.
In a previous post, I reported that the likely Father of the VRS fraud scheme, John Yeh, was sent away for 9 plus years and was required to payback $20 million of the amount he stole. His brother Joseph got about 4 years and was also given a $20 million dollar tab.
This time around the top dog is Larry Berke. He was sentenced to 2 years in prison, 3 years probation and $2.5 million repay. Berke’s apparent new wife, Lisa Goetz, 5 years probation with one year of house arrest and $2.5 repay. Donald Tropp also got 5 years probation with one year of house arrest and $2.5 million repay.
Kim E. Hawkins, Jessica Bacallao, and Wanda Hutchinson all received a similar sentence as Tropp. Nathan Zfati, Tamara Frankel, and David Simmons all received varying degrees of lessor sentences. All charges against Kathleen Valle were dropped.
Blogger ClercJr keeps pretty up-to-date on this matter and has a nifty who’s who in all things VRS fraud here: http://clercjr.wordpress.com/
In related news, it has been reported that a marriage license was applied for by Larry Berke and Lisa J Goetz in Yavapai County (AZ) Superior Court in December, 2011. Other evidence suggest a wedding has occurred since that time.
iDeafNews is also covering the VRS fraud story: http://ideafnews.com/2012/03/21/vrs-fraud-court-news-update-3-21-12-with-text-and-video/
My previous posts on VRS fraud:
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