Many of us have gone through life thinking that crime does not pay, although the evidence around us suggests otherwise. Take, for example, Lorenzo Garcia. As you know, he is the former El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) superintendent that not only scammed the school district taxpayers but also ruined the lives of many children. Yesterday, El Paso Times reporter Lindsey Anderson reported on Garcia’s latest adjustment to the restitution of the payments he is supposed to be making to EPISD.
According to Anderson’s report and other news media, Garcia was ordered to pay EPISD $180,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison, although the US Bureau of Prisons took 11 months off the sentence for some drug counseling scam.
Not only did Garcia get off with only a two and half-year sentence but now he is making more money than many El Pasoans make going to a labor intensive work each day. As if that wasn’t enough, he has now been allowed to pay off his restitution over a period of about 100 months.
As you know, Lorenzo Garcia pleaded guilty to manipulating student test results and having the school district pay $450,000 to his mistress. Unfortunately, we do not have a full accounting of the number of students that were deprived of an education by Lorenzo Garcia. According to the research by Dan Wever and news media reports the number could be anywhere between 100 to 300 students. Many of these students may never recover from Garcia’s corruption and many will never see the pay check Lorenzo Garcia is currently enjoying.
According to the “Request for Modifying the Conditions or Term of Supervision with Consent of the Offender” dated February 6, 2015, Garcia is pocketing “approximately $5,000” a month after taxes, IRS withholdings, and child support garnishments. Yes, you read that right, after taxes and child support, Garcia pockets about $5,000 a month. From that, he has been ordered to pay $1,500 leaving him with $3,500 a month, or $42,000 a year. That is actual money he pockets after tax withholdings, child support and restitution. How many El Pasoans get to pocket $42,000 a year? How many of the taxpayers that were scammed by Garcia pocket $42,000 a year?
What does he do for his substantial paycheck? According to the modification of his supervision, Lorenzo Garcia is now working for a roofing company “assigned to open a branch in the Houston area.”
Those are the sad facts. Now let us speculate a little here.
Above, I provided you the facts, as we know them today. From those facts, I’m going to speculate a little about what we do not know.
Remember that Lorenzo Garcia’s background is in education, not sales or private-sector management. It is also no secret that EPISD is a gravy train for many contractors in El Paso and many of us have speculated that many private businesses doing business with EPISD were not indicted or prosecuted during the latest public corruption roundups. As a matter of fact, the judge presiding over many of the corruption cases told Sal Mena that he should expose many of the frauds he was aware of as he sentenced him to prison.
Add to that mix, the question of how many criminals do you know that were recently released from prison land a comfortable job, opening an office in another city for a substantial salary?
I find it curious that the “roofing company” remains unnamed. That, to me, raises a red flag and as you know, I like to connect-the-dots. In time we will know who the roofing company and when we know the name I will not be surprised at all to connect the dots to individuals who continue to swindle the taxpayers through contracts at EPISD and other government entities. This will leave us with only one question, is Lorenzo Garcia’s job to keep him from naming names?
As usual, we have questions and the system somehow allows criminals to prosper while hard-working people are barely able to make the tax payments each year. It seems that the system encourages criminality and discourages honesty. Maybe we’re just too stupid to know how to make money the easy way.