More than two dozen people have been indicted in a scheme to defraud a program intended to help the deaf. The suspects falsely billed the government at a rate of $390 per hour for using Video Relay Service systems. According to the indictments, conspirators created fake call reports to make it look like deaf people were speaking with hearing persons. It took 20 sign-language interpreters working with federal agents to catch the alledged crooks.
The 26 indicted individuals are from 9 states including New York, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Maryland. Federal agents say the conspirators may have stolen tens of millions of dollars from the government program. The 7 contractors companies engaged in the scheme are located in Austin, Texas, Miami Lakes, Florida, Rockville, Maryland, Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Arizona, and Huntington Beach, California. One firm operated in both New York and New Jersey.