Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made Elizabeth Pierce — ex-CEO of Alaska fiber networking company Quijntillion — one of his "broadband advisors" and now she's in jail on charges of having run a $250,000,000 fraud.
According to the charge sheet, Pierce raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Quijntillion from investors after forging contracts and lying about future revenues.
"As it turned out, those sales agreements were worthless because the customers had not signed them," US attorney Geoffrey Berman said in prepared remarks, as reported by the WSJ. "Instead, as alleged, Pierce had forged counter-party signatures on contract after contract. As a result of Pierce's deception, the investment companies were left with a system that is worth far less than Pierce had led them to believe." Pierce was trying to raise money to help build out a fiber optic system that would wire Alaska with high-speed internet and better help connect it to networks in other US states. Pierce was charged with wire fraud last Thursday and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Broadband advisor picked by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai arrested on fraud charges [Nick Statt/The Verge]