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Murray man sentenced in wire fraud case to serve 18 months, pay $3.5 million in restitution

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A Murray businessman was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee Friday after pleading guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud that’s been in the court system since 2019.

Murray State University
Chuck Jones

Charles A. “Chuck” Jones was sentenced to 18 months of prison – with three years of supervised release to follow – as well as $3.5 million in restitution payments for the defrauding of the E-Rate program, a federal initiative that provides schools and libraries funding for telecommunications and internet access.

Jones was indicted on criminal conspiracy charges to commit wire fraud along with Mark J. Whitaker in February 2019.

A district court news release at the time said Jones was the part-owner of what were two technology companies, Technology Associates Inc. and Integrated Computer Solutions Inc.

It went on to state the pair had conspired with an individual identified as “A.J.,” saying that Jones allegedly gave money and other valuable things to them in return for their assistance. The release also said they used “A.J.’s” position with schools in Crockett County, Tennessee, and in another school district in Missouri to violate the E-rate Program’s rules. This, the release explained, allegedly enabled the pair to submit fabricated documents and make false statements and representations to the E-rate Program administrator, including the assertion that Jones’ companies invoiced schools for the correct copayment totals.

The restitution payments will be made to the Universal Service Administrative Company with the interest requirements waived. Jones’ monthly payments will note be less than 20% of his gross monthly income. He’s also prohibited from opening additional lines of credit.

The court is recommending to the Federal Bureau of Prisons that Jones be housed at a facility near his family in Murray.

The FCC Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.

Whitaker entered a guilty plea to misprision of wire fraud in February 2020.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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