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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The former head of a company overseeing a fiber-optic project in Alaska has pleaded guilty to charges alleging she fraudulently induced two New York investment companies to finance the project.

Elizabeth Pierce, 55, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in New York to wire fraud and eight counts of aggravated identify theft, the Anchorage Daily News reported .

The former CEO of Anchorage-based Quintillion gave investors eight forged broadband capacity sales contracts and order forms between May 2015 and July 2017 to obtain more than $250 million, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

Pierce falsified revenue agreements to make it appear that some Alaska telecommunications companies were committing about $1 billion to purchase wholesale quantities of bandwidth from the company, authorities said.

“But in fact, the defendant faked those contracts, forged other people’s signatures on them, and then lied to cover up her fraud,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in the statement. “She abused her executive position and is now being held accountable for her crimes.”

Pierce resigned from the company in August 2017 amid an internal investigation. Quintillion officials then alerted authorities, leading to the federal investigation.

Pierce, who currently lives in Austin, Texas, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 16.

Quintillion operates a fiber-optic system in Alaska that connects to the continental U.S.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News,