A former police officer in Southern California solicited bribes—including fancy dinners, tickets to an art fair and nearly $30,000 in rent—from a Colombian art dealer for seven years in exchange for immigration benefits.
The former officer, Paul John Gollogly of Temecula, California, pleaded guilty this month to one count of bribery for services he provided to an unnamed Colombian dealer between April 2013 and February 2020, including assisting the dealer at border crossings between Mexico and the United States, facilitating authorisation for work permits and assisting with a permanent residency application.
During this period, Gollogly was in charge of the anti-money laundering programme at the Murrieta Police Department in Riverside County, California, handling registered confidential informants. In April 2013, he registered the Colombian dealer as a confidential informant, subsequently claiming that the dealer’s help had led to investigations, arrests and seizures of drugs and money—none of which was true, according to a recent Department of Justice filing.
The filing and related court documents do not name the Colombian dealer in question, referring to them simply as “Person A” and noting that they owned galleries in New York and Spain, plus a hotel in Mexico. The dealer also had business interests in Colombia and Panama, according to court documents.
In exchange for helping the dealer with immigration and border-crossing issues, Gollogly received a range of benefits, including tickets to the 2013 edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach and a 2019 exhibition in New York, dinner for Gollogly and four relatives at an expensive New York restaurant, stays at the dealer’s hotel in Mexico for two relatives and a friend and nearly $30,000 in rent for a relative’s lodgings in New York. The dealer also gave a job to a family friend of Gollogly’s and tried to obtain a job with a major philanthropist for one of the officer’s relatives.
“My client deeply regrets that his conduct brought dishonour to law enforcement, a profession he was proud to have been a part of for his entire adult life,” says Brian Gurwitz, the lawyer representing Gollogly. “He fully accepts responsibility for his misconduct.”
Gollogly, who is 74 years old, is due to be sentenced on 19 January 2024. Though he could face up to ten years in prison, prosecutors have asked for a sentence of no more than 18 months as part of his plea deal. A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office for the Central District of California declined to comment.
While the identity of the Colombian dealer has not been revealed, Gollogly's plea deal suggests he could be cooperating in a further investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which assisted in the bribery case. Colombia and the US have an active extradition agreement.