Larry Duncan, the former board president of the former Dallas school bus agency, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of tax evasion related to a bribery scandal, the Associated Press and Dallas Morning-News report.
According to the Morning-News, Duncan is the fifth person, and third public official, to plead guilty in a “$70 million corruption scandal involving an obscure agency that ran Dallas-area school buses.” The paper reports that Duncan’s campaign received $245,000 from a company that was awarded contracts to provide cameras on Dallas ISD school buses. Duncan used more than $184,000 of those donations for non-campaign related expenses, but failed to declare that money to the IRS. AP cites court records saying this cost the IRS $39,717.
Duncan agreed to a plea deal of up to 12 months, according to the Morning-News, but he could face up to five years in prison, according to AP.
The company at the heart of the scandal, Force Multiplier Solutions, earned over $70 million from the school bus board, according to the Morning-News. The contracts were to put cameras on school buses that were intended to capture drivers passing the bus’s “flashing red lights and stop sign,” with monies from subsequent tickets going to Dallas County Schools, the agency that was entrusted with providing transportation for Dallas public school students. However, the paper reports “much of the stop-arm camera equipment taxpayers bought sat in a warehouse unused,” eventually leading the agency to bankruptcy.
While this was going on, Force Multiplier was funneling millions of dollars to Dallas County Schools board members. Duncan received $90,000 in donations in the first six months of 2016, according to the Morning-News, and former Dallas County Schools Superintendent Ricky Sorrells “took more than $3 million in bribes and kickbacks.” Sorrells pleaded guilty to a wire fraud charge in April.
Force Multiplier CEO Robert Leonard pleaded guilty in August to one charge of wire fraud related to the scandal, according to the Morning-News. Former Dallas mayor pro tem Dwaine Caraway pleaded guilty in August to receiving “more than $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for supporting a school bus safety program that turned into a huge taxpayer boondoggle.” Slater Swartwood Sr. pleaded guilty last December to “funneling bribes to Rick Sorrells in return for bus camera contracts.”