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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Six months?

In the latest debarment proceedings, Inter-Tel and NEC were debarred for 6 months. That seems short to me. These were not cases of people pushing the envelope on eligible services or buying equipment only to realize later they couldn't use it. These were people who set out to steal from the program. I suppose the individuals involved are long gone, but I'd still like to see the corporation held responsible for the way in which its employees drive money into their coffers. In the end, it's another argument for simplifying the rules: I feel bad for the employees' supervisors, because they would have to slog through pages and pages of rules to figure out that these deals smelled funny.

I didn't pore over either decision, so I'm shooting from the hip here, but it looks to me like Inter-Tel had been "suspended" for 18 months, and is now "debarred" for another 6 months. Doesn't it seem like a "debarment" should be longer than a "suspension"? NEC, meanwhile, appealed it's suspension, and so seems not to have been under suspension. Indeed, there continue to be FRNs listing NEC, but it looks like only a handful in recent years. The FCC again provides incentive to appeal: even if you know you're going to lose, filing an appeal buys you time. Lots of time.

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