New Indictment in Dallas Corruption Probe

DALLAS (CN) – Federal prosecutors accuse a former executive of BearingPoint consultants of lying to investigators during the public corruption investigation of embattled Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.
     A federal grand jury charged Helene Tantillo, 58, of Austin, with two counts of making a false statement to law enforcement.
     She was arrested Monday, the day the June 16 indictment was unsealed, prosecutors said. She is free on bond. If convicted, she faces up to 5 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
     Price and several associates were indicted in July 2014 , accused of taking more than $950,000 in cash, cars and real estate for supporting lucrative county contracts.
     Tantillo’s employer submitted a bid in 2014 for a multimillion-dollar contract to digitize Dallas County’s records, accounting to the new indictment.
     A county selection committee recommended rejecting BearingPoint’s bid, but the bid was saved by Price’s intervention.
     Prosecutors say that Tantillo then signed an amendment between her employer and political consultant Christian Campbell, 44, increasing Campbell’s monthly pay from $5,000 to $10,000 for two months. Campbell was indicted with Price.
     When FBI agents interviewed Tantillo in August 2013 about the pay increase, Tantillo “stated she could not recall the reason” for the pay hike according to her indictment. When she was interviewed again five months later, she said it was for a charitable donation to “curry favor with another Dallas County Commissioner,” in violation of company policy, the indictment states.
     In a third interview in June 2014, Tantillo said the pay hike was the idea of an unidentified third party.
     The indictment says her claims are false because the Campbell’s pay boost “was at least in part in order to pay” Price’s co-defendant, political consultant Kathy Nealy.
     Price, known as “Our Man Downtown” by his constituents in south Dallas, has been in office since 1985. He is accused of taking cash bribes of more than $447,000, a new Chevrolet Avalanche every four years and a BMW 645Ci convertible that cost $191,000 to buy and insure.

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