Texas School District Security Director Steals $2.5 Million to Fund His Gambling
Kris Gentz, the Security Director for a prominent Texas school district, stole $2.5 million from his employer to fund his gambling habits. Gentz stole the money from the Plano School District in the Dallas Metroplex by creating two fake companies.
Though it is amazing to believe, the scheme worked for 9 years. Gentz was employed by the district from August 2001 until December 2013, when he was fired from his job as Security Director. Authorities believe the scheme began sometime in 2004.
In November 2013, Plano ISD officials noticed the missing funds and began to investigate fake invoices. It took a month of investigation by the Plano Police Department, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Education to determine Kris Gentz was the one pocketing the cash. It appears he had two accomplices, who also collected funds from the fake company payments.
The arrests were announced on Tuesday by U.S. Attorney Malcolm Bales, along with FBI Special Agent Diego Rodriguez and Plano Police Chief Greg Rushin. If convicted, the 59 year old Kris Wilson Gentz could receive up to 5 years in prison.
How the Scheme Worked
Sometime in 2004, Kris Gentz is alleged to have created two shell corporations, which were included on the list of approved vendors for the ISD. He was the part-owner of these fake companies, which made bids on district services contracts for the Plano Independent School District.
In his role as the director of security and fire systems for the Plano ISD, Gentz was in a position to accept these companies’ bids. Once they had the job, the companies would submit fake invoices for the nonexistent work they had done.
The embezzlement plot is thought to have had at least two co-conspirators, though one of those people is now dead. Authorities are not sure the total amount of what was stolen from the Plano ISD, but Malcolm Bales believes the amount is less than the reported $7 million. Bales says that Gentz is working with authorities and they might be able to retrieve some of the cash, though much the $2.5 million alleged to have been stolen by Gentz was gambled away on his gambling habit.
Money Lost at Shreveport Casinos
According to U.S. Attorney Bales, most of the money was lost at Shreveport casinos. Bales said of the money that was lost, “The agents and prosecutors are working hard to do financial traces, but the sobering truth is that the defendant, Mr. Gentz, has probably gambled away much of the stolen money at nearby casinos.”
Apparently, the defendant in the case spent most weekends at casinos in Sheveport, Louisiana, where he was known as a high roller or whale. Though restitution will be ordered by the judge in the case, it is understood by the prosecution that most of the money lost went to the casinos.
Bales added, “The casinos had no idea that Mr. Gentz was anything more than a well-paying customer. They cultivated his business because he was such a spectacular loser at the games.”
No Other Employees Involved
At present, officials believe no one else employed by the school district was a part of the embezzlement scheme. Despite his 12 years spent as the security and fire supervisor, school officials say no campus or student was placed in danger by Kris Gentz’s actions.
At his press conference, Malcolm Bales said he understood how the crime went unnoticed for so long, and said it was actually quite easy for Gentz to get away with his crime. The attorney added, “When you give folks authority, you need to check that authority….In this case he was given discretion that he obviously abused. The idea that he could select the vendor and then approve the invoice turned out to be a bad idea.”
About Shreveport and Plano
Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana are gambling towns in northwest Louisiana. Shreveport is home to Cash Magic, Eldorado Resort, and Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino. Bossier City is home to Boomtown Casino, DiamondJacks Resort, Horsehoe Casino, and Margaritaville Resort.
Shreveport is 2 hours and 45 minutes travel by car from Dallas, so many gamblers from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex travel up to gamble in Shreveport on the weekends. Since the inception of Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma and the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, North Texas gamblers have destinations which are half as far away. Therefore, Shreveport and Bossier City casinos which have loyal high rollers are likely to cater to those customers.
The fact Kris Gentz was a native of Plano probably aided his schemes. Because DFW is a hub of wealth and northeast Louisiana is not, a high stakes gambler from Plano would be expected. Plano, Texas is a suburb in the DFW area, found 20 miles north of downtown Dallas. The city is known for its high school football tradition and its its affluence.
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