Businessman gets three years in fraud case

MGN Online
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - 7:28pm

U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo sentenced 65-year-old Joseph O’Hara of Albany, NY, to three years in federal prison for scheming to secure and maintain a lucrative El Paso Independent School District special education services contract.
 

In addition, Judge Montalvo ordered that O’Hara pay more than $2.89 million in restitution to EPISD and be placed
under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term. Judge Montalvo also ordered
that O’Hara report to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons no later than December 3, 2013, to begin serving his sentence.
 

On May 10, 2013, O’Hara pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and deprivation of honest
services. By pleading guilty, O’Hara admitted that from February 2003 to October 2007, he conspired with his
business partner Gary Lange of Haslett, Michigan, 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. O’Hara’s company failed
to provide working software to EPISD as required by the contract and it submitted improper claims for
reimbursement funds.
 

“The sentencing of Mr. O’Hara demonstrates the FBI’s unwavering commitment to target those individuals involved
in public corruption in the El Paso community. Nothing erodes public trust more than those who conspire to
illegally line their own pockets from taxpayer dollars,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Morgan.
 

On August 22, 2012, Gabaldon was sentenced to four years in federal prison and ordered to pay over $2 million in
restitution for his role in the scheme. Mena and Lange are still pending sentencing after pleading guilty to
conspiracy charges.

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