Forest Hills resident Rick Sorrells received no mercy at his sentencing hearing Wednesday. The 73-year-old former superintendent of the transportation agency, Dallas County Schools, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for accepting more than $3 million in bribes.
He will report to federal prison Sept. 17.
WFAA reported that Sorrells was near tears as he apologized profusely for wasting millions in taxpayer money. He said he was “weak” when he accepted bribes and was relieved when the FBI raided his house and he could come clean, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“You were living high on the hog,” Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn told Sorrells. “You were supposed to be a faithful servant to your community. I don’t forgive you for what you did.”
During his time as superintendent, Sorrells took illicit payments from Preston Hollow neighbor Robert Leonard Jr. Leonard paid him more than $3.5 million to secure contracts for his own company to install cameras on school buses, claiming that they would keep children safe and catch cars that don’t yield to school bus stop signs. Leonard and his company earned $70 million from the deal.
The swindle culminated in the closure of Dallas County Schools.
Federal prosecutors say Sorrells spent the bribe money on credit card debt, trips, personal expenses and an apartment in New Orleans. Prosecutors have found and seized some of Sorrells’ assets, including $12,000, a Maserati Ghibli, a Porsche Cayenne and a custom-made 14-karat gold bracelet with 51 princess diamonds.
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