Central District of California | Former Murrieta Police Detective Pleads Guilty to Accepting Illicit Benefits from Colombian Art Dealer in Exchange for Immigration Help

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RIVERSIDE, California – A former detective with the Murrieta Police Department pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge for soliciting bribes from a Colombian art dealer who was seeking immigration benefits in the United States.

Paul John Gollogly, 74, of Temecula, pleaded guilty to one count of bribery.

According to his plea agreement, Gollogly began working for the Murrieta Police Department (MPD) in March 2013 to lead its purported anti-money laundering program. In this role, he handled and directed confidential informants (CI) registered with the department, including non-U.S. citizens who needed authorization from the U.S. government to enter and work in the United States.

In April 2013, Gollogly registered an individual – identified in court documents as “Person A” – as a CI with MPD. Person A was a Colombian national and a wealthy art dealer who had significant business interests in Colombia, the United States, Mexico, Panama, and Spain. Person A owned art galleries in New York and Spain, as well as a hotel in Mexico.

While previously employed at a police department in Florida, Gollogly had registered Person A as a CI with that police department. Person A was neither a U.S. citizen nor had legal permanent resident status, commonly known as holding a “green card.”

From April 2013 to February 2020, Gollogly helped Person A obtain various immigration benefits, including authorization from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to allow Person A to enter and work in the United States for one year at a time and facilitation of Person A’s physical entry into the United States. Gollogly also attempted to assist with Person A’s permanent residency application.

Gollogly wrote letters of support to DHS for Person A’s approvals to enter the United States, falsely stating that Person A’s work as a CI resulted in arrests, seizures of large amounts of money and drugs, and additional investigations. In fact, the information Person A provided MPD resulted in none of these things.

Also, on at least 25 occasions, Person A texted Gollogly to inform him of Person A’s arrival in the United States, including Person A’s arrival date and location, and flight information in case Person A got held up at a port of entry by immigration authorities. On at least five occasions, after receiving notice of Person A’s arrival at the San Ysidro Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border, Gollogly personally drove to San Ysidro to meet Person A and facilitate Person A’s incident-free reentry into the United States.

In exchange for this help with immigration authorities, Gollogly solicited and received benefits from Person A, including:

  • receiving tickets to art shows in New York and Miami;
  • the hiring of a Gollogly family friend to work at one of Person A’s businesses and making efforts to help a Gollogly relative secure a job with a major philanthropist, whom Person A knew personally;
  • arranging for hotel stays for two close Gollogly relatives and another Gollogly friend at Person A’s hotel in Mexico, including one July 2014 stay in which – at Gollogly’s request – Person A had wine and flowers inside the hotel room of one of the close relatives;
  • paying four months’ rent in 2018 and 2019 for a Gollogly relative who was living in New York City; and
  • paying for dinner at an upscale New York restaurant for Gollogly and four of his relatives in December 2019.

United States District Judge Sunshine S. Sykes scheduled a January 19, 2024 sentencing hearing, at which time Gollogly will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. Prosecutors have agreed to seek no more than 18 months’ imprisonment for Gollogly.

The FBI investigated this matter, with assistance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Office of Professional Responsibility.

Assistant United States Attorneys Julius J. Nam of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and Courtney N. Williams of the Riverside Branch Office are prosecuting this case.

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