OIG Investigative Reports, United States Reaches $255,000 Settlement with Avaya Communications Inc. Skip to main contentAbout UsContact UsFAQs Language Assistance Englishespañol中文: 繁體版Việt-ngữ한국어TagalogРусский U.S. Department of Education Search for: Toggle navigation U.S. Department of Education Student Loans Grants Laws Data About ED OFFICES Home Reports & Resources Programs/Initiatives News Office Contacts Investigative Report U.S. Department of Justice Jeffrey A. Taylor United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Judiciary Center 555 4th Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530 PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, October 18, 2006 For Information Contact Public Affairs Channing Phillips (202) 514-6933 www.usdoj.gov/usao/dc United States Reaches $255,000 Settlement with Avaya Communications Inc. Concerning its Potential Liability for the Acts of its Former Technician Who Defrauded the U.S. Department of Education Washington, D.C. — Avaya Communications, Inc., successor to Lucent Technologies, has agreed to pay the United States $255,000 to settle allegations that it was financially liable under the False Claims Act for the actions of its former technician, William Cousin, who defrauded the U.S. Department of Education in the 1990s, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor and Inspector General for the Department of Education John P. Higgins, Jr. announced today. Cousin was a participant in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud the Department of Education. On December 4, 2000, Cousin pled guilty to one count of 18 U.S.C. § 641 (Theft of Government Property) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable Emmett G. Sullivan. The settlement is a result of the United States' contention that Avaya is liable for Cousin's participation in a scheme through which the Department of Education was defrauded of more than $1,000,000. Avaya has denied liability. A previous settlement with the prime contractor, Verizon Federal, Inc. (formerly Bell Atlantic Federal Systems), for two million dollars was reached in February 2002. According to the government's evidence, Cousin was a technician employed by Lucent (now Avaya) who was assigned full-time to the Department of Education to install telephone systems. Any hours, including overtime and holiday hours, that he claimed to work for the Department of Education were billed to and paid for by the Department of Education. Sometime in the 1990s and continuing up until December 9, 1999, Cousin began to claim that he was working far more overtime hours than he had actually worked, at least ten hours a week over several years. In addition to adding hundreds of unworked hours to his time sheets, the evidence further showed that the technician also was involved in a scheme with Elizabeth Mellen, a Department of Education telecommunications specialist who served as the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for the Bell Atlantic contract. As a result of this fraudulent scheme, the Department of Education was charged for over $159,000 of false overtime charges. The United States' claims against Avaya were based on the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729, which provides for civil penalties of up to $11,000 per claim and treble damages (i.e., three times the amount of the government's loss). In announcing the settlement, U.S. Attorney Taylor and Inspector General Higgins commended members of the Department of Education's Office of Inspector General and Office of the General Counsel. In particular, they praised the outstanding investigative efforts and assistance of OIG Special Agents Brian Hickey and John Hendrickson, OIG attorney Howard Sorensen, and Office of the General Counsel Attorney Gail Baum. In addition, they commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurie Weinstein who coordinated the civil investigation and settlement discussions. Top Printable view Share this page Last Modified: 10/23/2006 How Do I Find... Student loans, forgiveness College accreditation No Child Left Behind FERPA FAFSA 1098-E Tax Form 2015 Budget Proposal More > Information About... Transforming Teaching Family and Community Engagement Early Learning K-12 Reforms More > Connect Facebook Twitter YouTube Email RSS Google+ More > MISUSED FOIA OIG Fraud Hotline Our mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Student Loans Repaying Loans Defaulted Loans Loan Forgiveness Loan Servicers Grants & Programs Apply for Pell Grants Grants Forecast Open Grant Competitions Find Grant Programs by Eligibility Laws & Guidance No Child Left Behind FERPA Civil Rights Data & Research Education Statistics Postsecondary Education Data State Education Data Nation's Report Card What Works Clearinghouse About Us Contact Us ED Offices Jobs News FAQs Budget, Performance Notices FOIAPrivacySecurityInformation qualityInspector GeneralWhitehouse.govUSA.govBenefits.govRegulations.gov
United States reaches $255,000 settlement with Avaya Communications Inc. concerning its potential liability for the acts of its former technician who defrauded the U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC, October 18, 2006
Published by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General on 2006-10-18.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report.