Dallas

Businessman involved in school bus bribery scheme in Dallas sentenced

Dallas mayor pro tem pleads guilty to receiving bribes

The Dallas mayor pro tem pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and tax evasion.
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The Dallas mayor pro tem pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and tax evasion.

A ringleader in a bribery scheme that ended with the downfall of Dallas County Schools, a school bus transportation agency, was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday.

Robert “Bob” Leonard Jr., 71, must pay $125 million in restitution, according to court records. He is ordered to surrender on July 23.

Leonard, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, is the third man to be charged and sentenced in the scheme, which involved fake campaign contributions and tax evasion.

Larry Duncan, a former Dallas County school board of trustees chairman, was sentenced to three years of probation.

Duncan pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. He didn’t pay about $40,000 in taxes on more than $184,000 in fake campaign contributions from Leonard, a businessman from New Orleans, according to court documents. Duncan used the money on cars, cash withdrawals and money for himself and his wife.

In exchange, he helped Leonard’s company — Force Multiplier Solutions — sell millions of dollars worth of stop-arm cameras to Dallas County Schools, an agency that provided bus service to Dallas ISD and other school districts.

Former Dallas mayor pro tem Dwaine Caraway was also implicated in the scheme. He was sentenced to just over 4 1/2 years in prison last week.

Between 2011 and 2017, Caraway took roughly $450,000 in payments from Leonard, records say. In return, he supported Force Multiplier Solutions’ stop-arm program. He also promoted Leonard’s planned real estate development in South Dallas.

Leonard’s associate Slater Swartwood and Rick Sorrellos, former superintendent of Dallas County Schools, also have entered guilty pleas. The two have not yet been sentenced.

Dallas County Schools, which collected property taxes to purchase stop-arm cameras for about 2,000 buses, dissolved in November 2017 because of the scheme. The agency was left with about $103 million in debt.

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