6/5/2020Sixth Felony Plea Entered In School Bus Camera Bribery Scandal
Lawyer enters guilty plea in Dallas, Texas school bus camera bribery scandal.
Federal investigators proved last week they are not finished exposing widespread corruption in the automated ticketing industry. Louisiana attorney Richard Reynolds became the latest to join the growing list of photo enforcement felons after he entered a guilty plea in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas to the charge of misprision of a felony.
Misprision of a felony refers to the crime of someone actively conceals a criminal conspiracy and fails to report it to authorities. Reynolds helped school bus stop-arm camera operator Force Multiplier Systems bribe politicians and public officials in return for their endorsement of the lucrative technology. Reynolds used his legal skills to hide over $800,000 in bribe payments from Force Multiplier CEO Robert Carl Leonard Jr to Ricky Dale Sorrells, the superintendent of Dallas County Schools. In return for the cash, Sorrells ensured that his agency approved the $70 million bus camera contract with Force Multiplier that ultimately bankrupted the Dallas County Schools.
According to the plea, Reynolds admitted his role was to "make it appear as if Leonard and Force Multiplier Solutions were not paying a public official with whom they were doing business." Reynolds set up shell companies that paid Sorrells "consulting" fees, though Sorrells performed no such work.
Another cut-out, Slater Washburn Swartwood Sr, concealed an additional $2 million in bribes to Dallas County Schools Board President Larry Duncan, and Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway, who was the most vocal advocate of photo enforcement on the city council -- in return for $450,000 in cash. Criminal investigators at the Internal Revenue Service took credit for "following the money trail to uncover ill-gotten gains" that exposed the network of shell companies used to hide public corruption.
Under a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, Reynolds was charged with a lesser offense that carries the potential sentence of just one year in prison and a fine of $250,000. The other co-conspirators have been sentenced. Swartwood is scheduled for release from a Dallas halfway house on November 22. Caraway is set to leave Big Springs FCI on April 28, 2023. Leonard is at Oakdale low-security FCI until July 7, 2025. Sorrells is at FCI Beaumont, a minimum security satellite camp until September 2, 2025. Duncan has already served a short term of house arrest.