Rick Sorrells, the former superintendent of the now-gone Dallas County Schools, has a new home – federal prison.
Sorrells checked in this week to the low security federal correctional institute in Beaumont to begin a seven-year sentence for wire fraud, the result of his admitting to taking more than $3 million in bribes while leading DCS.
He was one of the key players in a camera-buying scam that drove the school agency into financial ruin and sent others to prison, including former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway.
Caraway, like Sorrells, also admitted to taking bribes to help accommodate a company that was claiming to make DCS’ school buses safer by equipping them with millions of dollars' worth of surveillance cameras. Once considered a strong prospect to become Dallas mayor, Caraway now is serving more than four years in a federal prison in the West Texas town of Big Spring.
The conspiracy, first uncovered and reported by NBC 5 Investigates as the result of a years-long investigation, cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and convinced voters, in a special election, to shutter DCS after 172 years in existence.
At the height of the conspiracy, while running the school agency, Sorrells was living high on the hog, with fancy cars, a nice house and lavish travels, including a luxury condo in New Orleans' French Quarter.
Now, he lives in a place that the federal government unfashionably calls "FCI Beaumont Low," described by the government as a "low security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp."
Sorrells, 63, is one of more than 2,500 inmates currently at the lockup facility, according to the prison bureau, and has an eight-digit inmate number.