- Associated Press - Friday, April 5, 2019

DALLAS (AP) - Former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has been sentenced to just over 4 ½ years in prison after pleading guilty in a federal corruption probe that’s shaken local government in the North Texas city.

A long-time fixture in city politics, Caraway resigned from the Dallas City Council last August after pleading guilty to tax evasion and wire fraud. The 66-year-old acknowledged he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks and bribes .

In federal court Friday, a judge berated Caraway and ordered him to pay $482,000 in restitution and report to prison May 5.

“I was disgusted by your conduct,” U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn told the politician.

Caraway expressed contrition before receiving his sentence, saying he was embarrassed and ashamed of his past behavior.

Between 2011 and 2017, Caraway took roughly $450,000 in payments from the representatives of a company that installs cameras on school buses, according to his plea. In return, the council member supported a program that placed Force Multiplier Solutions’ cameras on Dallas County Schools buses.

Robert Leonard, the company’s CEO, his associate Slater Swartwood, and Larry Duncan, the former board president of a since shuttered school bus agency have all also pleaded guilty to charges in the scheme.

Since pleading guilty, Caraway has been cooperating with investigators. Prosecutors had asked Lynn to keep him out of prison until he could testify against a developer who federal officials say bribed Caraway and another council member. The judge refused.

In March, it was revealed that Carolyn Davis, a former chair of the council’s Housing Committee, had pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from developer Ruel Hamilton in exchange for supporting an affordable housing project.

Hamilton, the owner of AmeriSouth Realty Group, is charged with two counts of bribery concerning a local government receiving federal benefits. His lawyers say he is innocent and the victim of a federal “set-up.”

Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement that Caraway’s case “should serve as a warning to public officials.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

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