Two men admit to bilking TDS Telecom

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Two men have pleaded guilty to a federal mail fraud charge for bilking a Middleton telecommunications company of nearly $2.5 million.

Sixty-four-year-old Andrew Mahaffy Sr. worked for TDS Telecom at offices in New York and South Carolina, and 48-year-old Timothy Furness, of Hilton, N.Y., was a telecommunications equipment distributor.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the men admitted to billing TDS for fictitious work orders that Furness sent the company from 1998 to 2009. Furness and Mahaffy then split the payments.

TDS spokesman Drew Petersen said the company reported its findings and worked closely with prosecutors.

Both men face up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced on March 13, though it is unlikely that the sentence for either will come close to that. They pleaded guilty Thursday.