DALLAS (CN) – A Dallas federal judge on Friday afternoon sentenced disgraced former mayor and city councilman Dwaine Caraway to 56 months in prison on corruption charges for accepting bribes to support a school bus stop-arm camera vendor.
U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn ordered Caraway to report to the Bureau of Prisons on May 5 and to pay over $500,000 in restitution. Caraway pleaded guilty eight months ago to one count of bribery and one count of tax evasion. He had faced up to seven years in federal prison under his plea agreement.
He admitted to accepting $450,000 in bribes to support the installation of traffic violation cameras on the buses of the now-defunct Dallas County Schools agency.
Caraway looked down silently as Lynn said “this is a sad day” for Dallas.
“I am disgusted by your conduct,” the judge said. “When this goes on for six years, it is difficult to call it a mistake … it became a habit.”
A career politician from south Dallas, Caraway immediately resigned after his guilty plea as city council member for District 4 and as mayor pro tem. He had previously served as acting mayor in 2011 for four months before the election of current mayor Mike Rawlings.
Testifying at the sentencing hearing, Caraway apologized to the citizens of Dallas, lamenting that “I have let a lot of people down.” He said “these are the darkest days of my life” and that “I did not plan to end my career in politics” like this.
“I stand before you embarrassed and ashamed,” he said. “I have humiliated the city of Dallas and I humiliated my council colleagues.”
Caraway last made headlines three years ago when he engaged in a shoving match with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price during a debate on a gospel radio station that devolved into personal attacks on each other.
Caraway’s guilty plea came four months after the former superintendent of the Dallas County Schools bus agency admitted to accepting $3 million in bribes in exchange for handing out $70 million in stop-arm camera contracts.
The massive contracts led to the insolvency of the agency, which was tasked with bussing children from school districts within Dallas County. The agency’s collapse forced the Dallas Independent School District to purchase much of its assets to bus its own students to and from school.