Federal Judge in El Paso Sentences Michigan Businessman for Role in Scheme to Defraud the El Paso Independent School District
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 17, 2013|
In El Paso yesterday, U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo sentenced 61-year-old Gary Lange of Haslett, Michigan, to two years in federal prison and 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, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.
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, New York; former El Paso Independent School District Associate Superintendent Tomas Gabaldon; and former El Paso Independent School District 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 further 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). 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. Mena, who also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge, is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:00 a.m. on December 10, 2013, before Judge Montalvo.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along the U.S. Department of Education- Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorneys Chris Skillern, Donna Miller, and Laura Gregory prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.