PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – A former Plano schools supervisor has pleaded guilty to defrauding the district of more than $2.5 million.
Kris Gentz had a position of trust, fire and security system manager for the Plano ISD, keeping students and employees safe. But now he’s pleaded guilty to defrauding his own employer.
U.S. Attorney for the East District of Texas, John M. Bales, said the total amount taken is a moving target. “It’s going to be more than 2-1/2 million dollars, I want to say that clearly, but how much more I don’t know.”
Local and federal officials say it went on nearly ten years. Gentz, who supervised security systems, created two dummy companies that billed the district with phony invoices for work never done and equipment never bought, according to authorities.
Bales said Gentz’s reputation for being trustworthy inadvertently helped shape the fraud.
“So the idea that he could select the vendor–the contractor—and also approve the invoice turned out to be a bad idea,” he said.
In court documents, prosecutors charge Gentz and two other as-yet unnamed co-conspirators put the plan together. One has since died, the other still under investigation.
Gentz was once a reserve police officer in Frisco (unpaid volunteer) from June of 1984 till April 1, 1988, according to public officials there. Plano ISD hired him in August 2000.
The Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge, Diego Rodriguez, said Gentz’s actions are not symptomatic of all vendors.
“Unfortunately a small number are sometimes focused solely on their own gains on their fortunes, and this small number can have an impact on our society.”
It was another school district employee who uncovered the scam when invoices didn’t match up.
Plano police, then federal officials were called in, but the damage was done, according to Bales.
“The sad truth is most of the money–we think–certainly most of the money that Gentz had was gambled away.”
CBS 11 News visited Gentz’s home in Princeton. No one answered. A neighbor who did not want to be interviewed confirmed Gentz spent a lot of time at casinos in Shreveport and owned cars, trucks, boats, farm equipment and property that he claimed to have paid for with gambling winnings.
Prosecutor Bales says Gentz’s action did not put any students or employees’ safety at risk. “There is no indication that any campus or Plano ISD was placed in danger, certainly no students’ safety was compromised because of the fraudulent billing scheme.”
Despite today’s guilty plea Gentz is a free man awaiting sentencing. He could receive a sentence of between 4-5 years.
Gentz’s attorney, Quinton Pelley, released a statement on Gentz’s behalf late Tuesday.
“Mr. Gentz took the first few of many steps today towards repairing the damage he caused the Plano Independent School District by admitting his participation with others in taking money from PISD.
He came forward early and accepted responsibility for his wrongdoings with feelings of extreme remorse. This morning, he waived his constitutional right to have a grand jury review his case prior to its commencement and confessed in Federal Court to the poor choices he has made in the past few years.
Mr. Gentz fully intends to do whatever it takes within the bounds of the law to rectify the unfortunate situation with PISD.”
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