Ex-Dallas bus agency official pleads guilty to tax evasion

October 22, 2018
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U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, center, speaks on the guilty plea of former Dallas County Schools president Larry Duncan alongside FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Eric Jackson, left, and IRS Dallas Field Office Special Agent in Charge Tamera Cantu at Earle Cabell Federal building in Dallas, on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Duncan pleaded guilty to tax evasion. (Carly Geraci/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

DALLAS (AP) — The former board president of a shuttered school bus agency in Dallas pleaded guilty on Monday to tax evasion, a federal charge tied to an investigation into a bribery scandal at the organization, authorities said.

Larry Duncan resigned last year from Dallas County Schools, the former government bus agency beset by deep financial troubles and questionable business dealings.

From 2012 to 2016, Duncan received $245,000 in campaign contributions from the president of Force Multiplier Solutions, a technology company that puts cameras on school buses, according to court documents.

The records say Duncan spent $184,726 of that money on items not related to his DCS campaigns. Those unrelated items included car-related expenses and money for him and his wife, according to the court records.

Duncan did not report all of the money on tax returns, costing the Internal Revenue Service $39,717, the court records say. He could face up to five years in prison, according to a plea agreement he signed on Sept. 12.

“Today marks another important step in our ongoing commitment to expose public corruption,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox.

Robert Leonard, who was the president of Force Multiplier Solutions, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a fraud charge.

Court records say he paid Rick Sorrells, former superintendent for Dallas County Schools, more than $3 million in kickbacks and bribes for Sorrells’ “decision to enter into contracts and licensing agreements with (Force Multiplier Solutions) and to purchase bus-camera equipment.”

Leonard, according to the records, moved most of the payments through shell entities.

Court documents report the technology company secured more than $70 million in “contracts, agreements, orders, and other beneficial treatment” from the bus agency.

Former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway pleaded guilty earlier this year in the public corruption case and resigned from the Dallas City Council.

Federal prosecutors said Caraway accepted more than $450,000 in kickbacks and bribes, in part through a phony consulting agreement, gambling money and trips to Las Vegas and elsewhere.

Dallas County voters last year opted to close DCS. The vote and guilty pleas came after reports by KXAS-TV.

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