Opening statements in Walker trial
After a lengthy jury selection process, 10 women and two men were seated to hear the case against Calvin Walker, of Walker's Electric Company, where the Bob Rawls with the U.S. Attorney Office for the Eastern District of Texas will try to convince them that Walker defrauded taxpayers by falsifying invoices and requests for payment submitted to the district for payment.
"This case is about greed," Rawls told the jury. "It is a violation of the public trust and theft of public funds."
Rawls explained that Walker won the contract to do the maintenance work with a built in 10 percent mark-up to cover his profit for the district in 2006 and then went onto do other jobs in excess of that contract, allthewhile operating under his original agreement with the district. Rawls said Walker cut and pasted documents together to falsify invoices and then claimed he paid the price submitted for the items on the invoices.
"He submitted over $2 million invoices that were completely made up," Rawls said. "Fake material invoices - literally cut and pasted from electrical supply company records."
Rawls said then Walker would submit checks to the district as proof of his payment for the items and take the 10 percent mark-up in addition to the inflated profits.
But Walker's attorney, Dick DeGuerin said his client isn't a criminal mastermind. Instead, he is just a guy with "a high school diploma and a trade school education." DeGuerin said Walker was a bad bookkeeper and used "The Walker Method" of accounting. He explained that Walker would write checks that he never intended to cash and use those to document the cost or expected amount he would have to receive to cover expenses for a job. Then he would void out hose checks and send them to an accountant to help keep track of his income.
During the first day of testimony, the head of the technology department for one of Walker's largest suppliers, Summit Electrical Supply, laid the predicate for how the prosecution claims it will show Walker falsified records.
The next witness to take the stand was the district's head of purchasing, Naomi Lawrence-Lee, who explained the bidding and payment process used by BISD.
The trial continues Tuesday and is expected to take more than two-weeks to complete. Be sure to check back with The Examiner as we update throughout each day of the trial.