Slater Swartwood Sr. Sentenced to Federal Prison for Money Laundering in Dallas County School Scandal

Real estate broker ordered to report to federal prison Aug. 13

Slater Swartwood Sr. was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge in December 2017.

Swartwood, 77, moved $2.4 million through accounts he controlled. That money made up some of the $4 million in bribes Swartwood's longtime friend and business associate Robert Leonard paid to former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway and Dallas County Schools Superintendent Rick Sorrells.

Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 News
Slater Swartwood Sr., 77, arrives at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas, July 9, 2019. Swartwood was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his role in the DCS scandal.

Judge Barbara Lynn, who ordered Swartwood to report to prison Aug. 13, said Swartwood's crime was a very, very serious offense that horribly impacted the city of Dallas and Dallas County Schools.

Lynn noted Swartwood received a significant reduction in his sentence due to a number of health issues, including a heart condition, poor hearing and cognitive impairment, as well for his cooperation into the investigations into Caraway and Sorrells where he wore a hidden camera and provided the FBI with documents.

Swartwood's attorneys said he didn't profit from the $2.4 million that moved through his account at the direction of Bob Leonard, and that he was simply far too trusting. They said Swartwood had known Leonard for years and that after Hurricane Katrina, when Swartwood was dead broke, Leonard came to his rescue with a job opportunity.

Prosecutors agreed that Swartwood profited from his employment, but did not directly profit from the laundering transactions.

Robert Leonard, a central player in what federal prosecutors say may be "the largest domestic public corruption case in history," has been sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the Dallas County Schools school bus camera scandal.

In the wake of the DCS scandal, Dallas County voters chose to shut down Dallas County Schools in November 2017. The school bus provider was wound down over the next year and the dissolution committee overseeing the disposition of the agency's assets and liabilities was abolished in May 2019.

Leonard, meanwhile, described by federal prosecutors as a central player in what may be "the largest domestic public corruption case in history," was sentenced to seven years in prison on May 14 for paying millions in bribes in the scandal. He was also ordered to repay $125 million jointly with his co-conspirators, Caraway and Sorrells. That money is unlikely to ever be repaid.

Rick Sorrells is a disgraced former school administrator, an admitted criminal, a soon-to-be resident of the federal prison system and, despite all of that, he is eligible to receive his full state pension.

Former Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway is currently serving 4.6 years behind bars for his role in the scandal.

Sorrells, meanwhile, who continues to receive his state pension after admitting to taking $3 million in bribes in the scandal, will be sentenced in August. He faces up to 10 years behind bars.

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