July 20, 2024
Paul John Gollogly, who headed the Murrieta Police Department’s anti-money laundering program, will plead guilty under an agreement with federal authorities.

A former reserve officer who managed the Murrieta Police Department’s anti-money laundering program has agreed to plead guilty to federal bribery charges for allegedly accepting hotel stays, expensive meals and $29,600 in rent payments for a New York apartment from a wealthy Colombian art dealer.

According to a plea agreement filed last week in U.S. District Court, Paul John Gollogly, who worked for Murrieta police from 2013 to 2020, solicited bribes in exchange for facilitating the unidentified art dealer’s immigration applications to enter and work in the United States

Gollogly, 74, joined the Murrieta Police Department after serving as a state narcotics investigator for many years, Dominique Samario, a spokesperson for the city, said Wednesday, Sept. 6, in an email.

As a reserve police officer, Gollogly was assigned to work in the department’s newly established anti-money laundering program. He was fired in 2020 and the anti-money laundering program closed after the FBI searched his home, Samario said.

“The Murrieta Police Department fully cooperated with the FBI and Department of Justice throughout the inquiry, including providing any documents required by the FBI to complete their investigation,” Samario said. “The plea agreement makes it clear that neither the police department nor the city of Murrieta was the target of this investigation.

“Unfortunately, the FBI investigation has revealed that Mr. Gollogly concealed material facts from the city, made false and fraudulent representations to the city with regard to his work, and defrauded the City and Murrieta citizens of their right to honest services. “

Gollogly could not be reached for comment.

According to the plea agreement, the art dealer allegedly solicited by Gollogly for bribes had businesses in Mexico, where he owned a hotel, Colombia, Panama, Spain and New York, where he owned art galleries.

However, according to prosecutors, he did not have a travel visa or permanent status to work in the U.S.

Gollogly allegedly registered the art dealer as a confidential informant with the Murrieta Police Department in April 2013, as he had done previously for the dealer while working for a law enforcement agency in Florida.

From April 2013 to February 2020, Gollogly allegedly assisted the art dealer in facilitating Department of Homeland Security authorizations that allowed him to enter and work in the U.S. for a year at a time. Without such authorizations, the art dealer would not have been able to pursue his “significant business interests” in the U.S., prosecutors said.

In a pair of 2014 and 2016 Murrieta Police Department letters of support for the art dealer’s immigration application renewals, Gollogly falsely claimed that the individual’s work as an informant had resulted in arrests and large seizures of drugs, according to prosecutors.

“In fact, these statements were incorrect,” says the plea agreement.

From June 2012, when Gollogly worked as a police officer in Florida, and continuing through February 2020, he was frequently on “standby” to help the art dealer with any problems he encountered from border authorities while attempting to enter the U.S., prosecutors said.

On at least 25 occasions, the art dealer — toward the end of international trips and before his return to the U.S. — allegedly would send Gollogly text messages regarding his arrival date, location and flight information.

If the art dealer had problems reentering the U.S., Gollogly would personally communicate with immigration officials to verify and vouch for his work as an informant for Murrieta police and other agencies, the plea agreement states.

On at least five occasions, after receiving information about the art dealer’s arrival, Gollogly personally drove to the San Ysidro Port of Entry to facilitate his reentry into the U.S. from Mexico, prosecutors said.

Additionally, in 2020 when the art dealer encountered problems with a permanent residency application, Gollogly used his position with Murrieta police to persuade a U.S. customs enforcement officer to search the art dealer’s files for any negative information that could have been used to block the application, the plea agreement states.

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He also allegedly had a Murrieta city employee complete a database search and criminal history check on the art dealer.

Prosecutors say the bribes benefited Gollogly as well as family members and friends.

On Dec. 6, 2013, Gollogly obtained two tickets from the art dealer to attend the Art Basel Miami art fair in Florida, the plea agreement says. Then, in June 2014, Gollogly allegedly solicited the art dealer to provide job leads for a family friend, who ultimately was hired by the art dealer.

In July 2014, Gollogly arranged for two family members and a close friend to stay at the art dealer’s hotel in Mexico and had wine and flowers put in one of the rooms free of charge, prosecutors said.

Allegedly, at Gollogly’s request, the art dealer also provided two nights of free lodging to a relative and their friend at the hotel in Mexico in November 2014.

Gollogly also solicited other bribes from the art dealer, including a $560 meal at an upscale restaurant, four months rent for a relative’s New York apartment totaling $29,600, and a free five-night stay at two hotels in Colombia for a pair of unidentified individuals.

Gollogly is expected to formally plead guilty in the next several weeks. He faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison, but prosecutors have asked the court to sentence him to no more than 18 months.

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