Michigan man sentenced in EPISD bribery scheme

EL PASO, Texas - U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo on Wednesday sentenced 61-year-old Gary Lange of Haslett, Michigan, to two years in federal prison.

He also ordered him to pay more than $2.89 million in restitution for scheming to secure and maintain a lucrative El Paso Independent School District special education services contract.

In February 2009, Lange pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and deprivation of honest services. By pleading guilty, Lange admitted that from February 2003 to October 2007, he conspired with his business partner Joseph O'Hara of Albany, NY, former EPISD Associate Superintendent Tomas Gabaldon and former EPISD Trustee Sal Mena to fraudulently secure and maintain a contract to provide software to the special education department of EPISD and to provide services to obtain federal and state reimbursement funds for special education programs.

Lange also admitted that he facilitated O'Hara in paying $100,000 in bribes to Gabaldon and a $5,000 kickback to Mena in 2005 for their help in securing the contract for O'Hara's company, Strategic Government Solutions, Inc. SGS failed to provide working software to EPISD as required by the contract and it submitted improper claims for reimbursement funds.

"The sentencing of Mr. Lange once again demonstrates the continued commitment of the FBI to bring to justice those individuals who erode the public's confidence in those entrusted to manage our educational institutions. The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue individuals who place their personal interests above those of the taxpayers of El Paso," stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.

Gabaldon and O'Hara have been sentenced to four years and three years, respectively, in federal prison and ordered to pay the restitution to EPISD for their roles in the scheme.

Montalvo is scheduled to sentence Mena at 9 a.m. Dec. 10, 2013. Mena pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge.

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