New docs. shed more light on Garland ISD federal probe - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

New docs. shed more light on Garland ISD federal probe

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New documents obtained by FOX 4 shed more light on the alleged fraud and corruption and the federal probe of at Garland ISD.

FOX 4 now has whistleblower emails that should have started the investigation into the teacher visa program much sooner.

Caught up in the investigation is a longtime and beloved Garland administrator accused by the school district of ignoring clear signs that there could be fraud and corruption in the visa program that recruited foreign teachers.

At a February protest in Garland, some educators wore bags over their heads, claiming they feared retaliation from a new superintendent.

A banner read, "Support Dr. Gary Reeves. Fire Superintendent Bob Morrison."

Morrison had suspended Reeves and two others over a federal investigation of GISD's H-1B visa program that recruited hundreds of foreign teachers.

Reeves' daughter-in-law, Shannon, defended him.

"He has not done or known of anything that's going on," said Shannon.

But last week, the school district went public.

"Money was being made and privileges were being enjoyed by many people," GISD attorney Harry Jones recently said.

The scope of the alleged corruption and fraud involves foreign teachers who were financially victimized, and who could end up deported instead of getting the permanent residency they thought they'd been promised.

Human resources director Victor Leos was portrayed as the heart of the money-making scheme, and his boss, Reeves, was portrayed as a man who turned a blind eye to it.

A key to that allegation is a whistleblower email sent anonymously in January 2013 to then-acting superintendent Gary Reeves -- laying out all the elements of what was going on.

Leos is accused of recruiting trips to places like the Philippines, where he allegedly gave "…orientation training to prospective teachers with a fee," and after teachers were brought to Texas, they were "…required to rent the house of Leos' stepson" and given the "…option to choose only the two immigration lawyers appointed by (Leos)."

"Dr. Reeves gave that email to Mr. Leos to fix," said Jones.

"That's a lie," said Reeves. "I didn't send it back to Mr. Leos. I'm sorry. I can't even tell you that now."

Reeves has declined further comment.

Jones says Reeves and Leos differed on some of what they told him, but on the handling of the whistleblower email, they agreed.

"When I asked them separately, 'What was Dr. Gary Reeves' response?' both of them said, Dr. Gary Reeves said, ‘Victor, get with this guy. Fix it.' Meaning the person that wrote the email," said Jones.

Another email was sent days later from one of the immigration attorneys Leos partnered with to Leos reads, in part, "I understand the interim superintendent's fears for a possible investigation that might smear your good name. I salute him for protecting your interest and good name."

"Victor Leos says that Gary Reeves never required him to make reports, budgets or explain the scale and scope, but he clearly said that Dr. Reeves understood what he was doing," said Jones.

Jones says Reeves defended himself by saying he couldn't know everything everyone under him was doing.

"He told me, 'I knew something was fishy with this,' but he did not reach into and stop it," said Jones. "Why he didn't do that is something we'd still like to know."

Everything the school's investigation uncovered was turned over to federal officials.

Homeland Security has created a taskforce that includes the departments of labor and education.

It was also turned over to Garland police and Texas Rangers.

The federal taskforce could reportedly have something on the U.S. Attorney's desk in a matter of weeks -- maybe days.

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