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Two plead guilty in scheme to steal $2.5M from TDS Telecom


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Two men have pleaded guilty to using a false billing scheme to steal $2.5 million from a Wisconsin-based telecommunications firm.

64-year-old Andrew Mahaffy Sr. and 48-year-old Timothy Furness will be sentenced March 13th after entering pleas Thursday in federal court in Madison on mail fraud charges.

Mahaffey worked in South Carolina and New York State for the Middleton-based TDS Telecom, and Furness was an equipment distributor from Hilton New York. They admitted billing TDS for false work orders that Furness gave the company.

They told Judge Barbara Crabb that TDS paid Furness, and he split the money for Mahaffy.

The company discovered the scheme after Mahaffy retired last year. His successor got suspicious when he saw an invoice but never heard of the company that sent it.

A retired FBI agent then investigated. TDS said it then reported the findings to authorities – and they worked with federal prosecutors in getting the men convicted.