Former Ontonagon prosecutor sent to federal prison for fraud

EL?PASO, Tex. – A former Ontonagon County prosecutor, who served on Michigan Technological University’s Board of Control and is in the school’s Sports Hall of Fame, was sentenced to two years in federal prison after being convicted of a fraud scheme involving the El Paso, Texas Independent School District.

According to the United States Department of Justice website, on Oct. 16, U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo sentenced 61-year-old Gary Lange of Haslett, Mich., to two years in federal prison and ordered him to pay more than $2.89 million in restitution for the fraud scheme involving a services contract for the EPISD special education program.

From 1970 to 1974, Lange played for the Tech football, basketball and track teams, according to the Tech Huskies website. During his time on the basketball team, he scored 1,049 points. He made 418 field goals, 213 free throws, and had 207 assists. The Houghton native was inducted into the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

From 1975 to 1983, Lange served on the Tech Board of Control. From 1975 to 1979 he attended Cooley Law School in Lansing. He was Ontonagon prosecuting attorney from 1983 to 1988.

Also according to the DOJ website, “In February 2009, Lange pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and deprivation of honest services. By pleading guilty, Lange admitted that from February 2003 to October 2007, he conspired with his business partner, Joseph O’Hara, of Albany, NY, former El Paso Independent School District Associate Superintendent Tomas Gabaldon and former El Paso Independent School District Trustee Sal Mena to fraudulently secure and maintain a contract to provide software to the special education department of EPISD and to provide services to obtain federal and state reimbursement funds for special education programs. Lange further admitted that he facilitated O’Hara in paying $100,000 in bribes to Gabaldon and a $5,000 kickback to Mena in 2005 for their help in securing the contract for O’Hara’s company, Strategic Government Solutions, Inc. SGS failed to provide working software to EPISD as required by the contract and it submitted improper claims for reimbursement funds.”