CROWLEY, Texas — A Florida man has been sentenced to 71 months in federal prison for his role in stealing and laundering $2 million from a north Texas school district in an email spoofing scam.
In March, a Florida jury found 63-year-old Donald Howard Conkright of Key West, Florida, guilty of conspiring to commit money laundering and substantive money laundering. Conkright's 71 month federal prison sentence was announced on Wednesday.
The $2 million stolen during the scheme, according to federal prosecutors, was money earmarked for the construction of a new elementary school.
Conkright spoofed, or faked, an email address to make it appear as though it was coming from an accountant at Steele & Freeman Inc., which is a construction company that was a vendor of Crowley Independent School District, which is located just south of Fort Worth, Texas. The email claimed, according to federal court documents, to be updating banking information for Steele & Freeman with the district so the district could pay money owed to the company.
Instead, Conkright provided the district with banking information to an account he controlled — ultimately conning the district of $1,995,715 over the course of several deposits.
According to evidence presented during a three-day trial in the Southern District of Florida, Conkright began to conceal and spend the money — purchasing $70,000 in Rolex watches, over $13,000 at Apple stores, $128,000 for a BMW, more than $60,000 in cash withdrawals, over $70,000 in computers which were sent to Nigeria, and an approximate $875,000 which was wired out of country.
"In addition to laundering the school district’s money, there was evidence presented at trial that Conkright had laundered, and attempted to launder, other victims’ money as part of the same conspiracy between 2017 and 2019," read a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida, which prosecuted the case in their district.