News 12's Most-Viewed: #7 - 7 Hudson Valley residents accused of defrauding gov’t of $14M

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RAMAPO -

News 12 Digital is highlighting the most-viewed stories of 2018 as part of our 'News 12's Most-Viewed' series. This story on the arrest of seven Hudson Valley residents, accused of defrauding the government was first published on Aug. 29. Original story below.

Seven Hudson Valley residents, including at least one rabbi, were arrested in connection with an alleged multimillion-dollar effort to defraud the federal government.

Seven people, including six Ramapo residents, were indicted for allegedly scheming to defraud a federal program known as "E-Rate," which provides grants to schools serving underprivileged students so they can afford internet access and other forms of technology.

Federal prosecutors say the defendants billed E-Rate for equipment and services that were not actually provided to their private religious schools. The Hasidic communities do not allow students to access the internet or use computers.

Four of the defendants requested over $35 million in E-Rate funds and received over $14 million from about 2010 until 2016.

The FBI raided yeshivas in Rockland and Orange counties and businesses in connection with the probe back in March.

Six of the seven individuals were present in court after they were arrested early Wednesday morning. They each face up to four counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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