Crime

Consultant involved in Dallas school bus camera graft, money laundering sentenced

A real estate consultant who laundered money to cover kickback payments for arranging the sales of bus cameras to the Dallas County Schools system was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in prison.

Slater Swartwood Sr., 76, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. The fraud scheme in which he and others were involved concerned $3 million in illegal bribe and kickback payments, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas has said.

U.S. District Chief Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn also sentenced Swartwood to one year of supervised release, and fined him $25,000.

Swartwood worked as a real estate adviser with a person prosecutors did not identify in an account of the crime they prepared that Swartwood agreed was correct. In about 2010, he began doing real estate consulting for a company whose name they also did not make public. The company sold cameras and related services for school buses.

The company entered into contracts and a licensing agreement with Dallas County Schools through its superintendent. Under the contracts and licensing agreement, the school system purchased millions of dollars of camera equipment from the company.

Swartwood and his co-conspirators “spent a significant amount of time discussing how to get their stories straight so they could explain the paper trail left by the multi-year bribery scheme they had engaged in,” according to an account of the crime prepared by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Dallas County Schools, which collected property taxes to purchase 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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