Oklahoma City-Based Telecom Owner Indicted On Federal Charges - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Oklahoma City-Based Telecom Owner, Associate Indicted On Federal Charges

Posted: Updated:
File photo. File photo.
Wesley Chew. Wesley Chew.

An Edmond man has been charged in federal court in Oklahoma City with money laundering for transferring over $20 million from his Oklahoma cell phone company's account to a personal account. In the indictment announced Wednesday, the US Attorney's office in Oklahoma City said.

Oscar Perez-Zumaeta of Cancun, Mexico was also charged with crimes involving more than $25-million of fraudulent claims against the federal Lifeline program.

This after a 6 Investigates expose last year on Wesley Chew's Icon Telecom. The company provided government-subsidized cell phones to the poor from 2011 to 2013.

6 Investigates discovered the government had been writing Icon Telecom checks with no audits, meaning millions were given to them based on the honor system.

7/1/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Company Makes Millions Off Government Cell Phones Despite Red Flags

Wesley Chew and his company are charged with making a false statement to the government. Specifically, US Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, Sanford Coats alleges auditors asked Icon Telecom in May 2013, to provide 58 specific customer recertification forms as part of a Lifeline audit.

U.S. v. Chew, Icon Telecom

The government alleged "that in the absence of legitimate forms, Icon created false recertification forms, fabricated the subscribers' signatures on the forms, and electronically submitted the fictitious forms in response to the audit."

"Although this program was designed to help low-income Americans have basic access to phone service, these individuals, and their companies, allegedly exploited the system to line their own pockets," said U.S. Attorney Coats.

"All of us must be concerned when programs like this are abused and defrauded. I commend the FCC-Inspector General, FBI, and IRS Criminal Investigation for their cooperation and coordination in this investigation."

Coats said Perez-Zumaeta is charged in a ten-count indictment. The indictment alleges that Perez-Zumaeta directed sales personnel to use phone books to come up with names and addresses for bogus Lifeline customers and to dispose of telephones registered to fake customers by selling them on the street for approximately $5 each.

U.S. v Perez-Zumaeta

6 Investigates learned Icon Telecom shut down its Lifeline service in 2013.

9/17/2013 Related Story: OKC-Based Icon Wireless Shuts Down Amid State Investigation

In a news release, Coats said Icon Telecom, owned exclusively by Chew, participated in the wireless Lifeline Program from July 2011 until September 2013. Coats said in September 2011, Icon reported fewer than 2,200 wireless customers who qualified for the Lifeline program. By November 2012, that number had grown to 135,364.

Coats further alleged that to recruit new customers, Icon relied almost exclusively on a company which Perez-Zumaeta owned and operated.

The government says if convicted, Wesley Chew faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Chew will have to pay back the money he got from the Lifeline program.

Coats said Icon Telecom, if convicted, faces up to five years of probation, a fine of up to $500,000, and mandatory restitution.

And Perez-Zumaeta, if convicted, could be imprisoned for 20 years on each of the conspiracy and wire-fraud counts and 10 years on each of the money-laundering counts.

Perez-Zumaeta was arrested in late April 2014 at the San Francisco airport and is currently in federal custody.

At last word, Wesley Chew was not in custody.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!


See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Cold Case

    Join Lori and local homicide detectives as they search for Cold Case clues.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

  • Turnpike Timelines

    View a historical road map of Oklahoma's turnpike system.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.