Former Dallas City Council member Larry Duncan faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of tax evasion, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas announced Monday. In court documents, Duncan admits that he took $245,000 in campaign contributions and used them for personal expenses during his time on the Dallas County Schools board.
"Mr. Duncan not only failed to reveal the nature of the campaign contributions, he failed to disclose the money to the IRS," U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said.
The contributions came from individuals connected to Force Multiplier Solutions, the Louisiana-based technology company at the center of the Dallas County Schools stop-arm camera scandal. Duncan made cash withdrawals from his campaign accounts, transferred money from the accounts to him and his wife and used the contributions for "car-related expenses," according to court documents.
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"It's especially troubling when one provided with a public office tries to pervert that system and leaves the citizens of Dallas to clean up that damage," Cox said. "Perhaps Mr. Duncan underestimated our commitment to exposing his public corruption."
Duncan is the second former Dallas City Council member to plead guilty to a federal crime related to taking cash from supporters of the stop-arm camera initiative, which allowed Dallas County Schools to collect revenue from tickets issued to drivers who did not stop for school bus stop signs. The program never generated the revenue that its supporters promised, and its failure contributed to the eventual dissolution of the agency earlier this year.
In August, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway pleaded guilty to accepting cash from former Force Multiplier executives Robert Leonard and Slater Swartwood Sr. in return for influencing the City Council vote that allowed the camera program to go forward. Monday, the FBI said it is continuing to investigate corruption at the transportation agency.
"The FBI is committed to unraveling every thread of this case until we've completely unraveled all of the corruption that has been associated with the Dallas County Schools," Dallas FBI agent Eric Jackson said.