5/23/2019Seven Years In Prison For School Bus Camera CEO
Creator of the school bus camera company fined $125 million and sentenced to seven years in prison.
Robert Carl Leonard Jr will spend the next seven years of his life behind bars for his role in the school bus camera scandal that rocked Dallas, Texas. The former CEO of Force Multiplier Solutions (now operating under the name BusPatrol) was sentenced to federal prison last week by US District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn. She also ordered Leonard to pay back the $125 million that taxpayers lost as a result of his camera scheme.
It is not clear that Leonard will ever be able to come up with the money he owes. Federal agents have already seized his 2008 Bentley Continental GT, a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee and $738,167 in cash stored in various bank accounts. Agents had already seized seven neo-Expressionist paintings by artist David Harouni earlier this year along with an assortment of diamonds and jewelry.
Leonard distributed $3 million in bribes to Dallas County Schools superintendent Ricky Dale Sorrells to lock in the photo enforcement contract that brought millions in taxpayer dollars to Force Multiplier. Leonard also lavished cash and campaign donations on local politicians to secure their support for using school buses as ticketing platforms. Dallas city councilman Dwaine Caraway in particular took $450,000 in bribes and then became the most vocal advocate claiming the cameras were needed "for safety." Caraway also forced the city attorney into issuing an opinion affirming the controversial program's legality.
Instead of making the Dallas school bus agency rich, the failed automated ticketing program drove Dallas County Schools into bankruptcy. In 2017, voters used a referendum to shut down Dallas County Schools for good. Leonard, at 71 years old, must surrender to authorities by July 23.
Former Dallas County Schools board president Larry Duncan was sentenced to house arrest and community service for his role in the plot. Caraway was sentenced to four years and eight months behind bars. Sorrells awaits an August sentencing hearing.
Despite the scandal, Force Multiplier Solutions survives under the name BusPatrol, with several cities continuing to do business with the firm as if nothing had happened. Montgomery County, Maryland, officials traveled to Dallas to strike a bus ticketing deal with Sorrells and Leonard in 2015.