A sixth conspirator is likely headed to federal prison for his role in the bribery and public corruption scandal that rocked Dallas County and cost local taxpayers over $100 million.

Louisiana lawyer Richard Reynolds pleaded guilty to helping cover up $800,000 in bribes paid to county bureaucrat Rick Sorrells, according to a report by NBC 5 Investigates.

Sorrells was the superintendent of Dallas County Schools, a taxpayer-subsidized school bus bureaucracy. Sorrells admitted accepting over $3 million in bribes and kickbacks in a scheme to install stop-arm cameras on school buses and then issue photo-enforced tickets.

Reynolds created fake documents to make the bribes look legitimate.

Between 2011 and 2016, Sorrells and DCS board president Larry Duncan took money from Robert Leonard, CEO of a Louisiana-based camera company, in exchange for approving over $70 million in camera purchases and related contracts.

Sorrells spent the bribe money on high-end sports cars, expensive jewelry, and a luxury condo in New Orleans.

Duncan claimed his share of the cash—about $250,000—as campaign contributions but spent it on personal expenses. He didn’t have an opponent, so he was automatically re-elected to the board in 2012.

Ex-Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway also admitted taking nearly half a million in bribes from Leonard to persuade the city to allow DCS to issue the tickets.

Ticket revenue failed to materialize—hundreds of the purchased cameras were never even installed on school buses—and the failed scheme plunged the mismanaged agency deeper into debt.

Leonard associate Slater Swartwood Sr. acted as a middleman and also brokered questionable real estate deals for the cash-strapped agency in an attempt to cover losses tied to the scheme. Swartwood confessed to money laundering charges.

In November 2017, Dallas County residents voted to shut down the scandal-plagued bureaucracy but were still stuck paying for over $100 million in debt.

As part of Reynolds’ plea deal, prosecutors reportedly agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than one year in federal prison.

Reynolds will join five co-conspirators, including three former public officials, punished for swindling Dallas County taxpayers using an obscure government bureaucracy. All pleaded guilty to federal charges in exchange for reduced sentences:


Rick Sorrells
Former Dallas County Schools superintendent
Status: Guilty—in prison
Crime: Conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud—accepted $3 million in bribes and kickbacks from Leonard
Sentence: 7 years in prison


Slater Swartwood Sr.
Associate of Robert Leonard
Status: Guilty—in prison
Crime: Conspiracy to commit money laundering—acted as middleman
Sentence: 18 months in prison



Dwaine Caraway
Former Dallas mayor pro tem
Status: Guilty—in prison
Crime: Conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, tax evasion—accepted over $450,000 in bribes from Leonard
Sentence: 56 months in prison, $500,000 restitution


Robert Leonard
CEO of school-bus camera vendor Force Multiplier Solutions
Status: Guilty—in prison
Crime: Conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud—bribed public officials
Sentence: 7 years in prison, $125 million restitution (with co-conspirators Sorrells and Caraway)

Larry Duncan
Former Dallas County Schools board president
Status: Guilty—on probation
Crime: Tax evasion—accepted $250,000 in phony campaign contributions from Leonard
Sentence: 6 months’ house arrest, 3 years’ probation, repayment of $45,000 in back taxes and interest, community service

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.