Former Broward County School Board Member Indicted on Public Corruption Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 17, 2009|
Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced the filing of an Indictment charging Beverly Gallagher, 51, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, with committing extortion under color of official right, bribery in programs receiving federal funds, and wire fraud by depriving the citizens of honest services, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951, 666, 1341, and 1346, respectively. Gallagher was arrested on September 23, 2009 on a criminal complaint in connection with these charges. She was released on a $100,000 personal surety bond.
As set forth in the Indictment, the charges are a result of an FBI undercover investigation. The undercover FBI agents posed as asset managers who claimed to represent contractors seeking to obtain contracts with local government entities, including the Broward County School District. Specifically, the undercover agents claimed to be acting on behalf of a client who owned a glass company and a project manager for a large construction company. Both companies were purportedly seeking to obtain contracts from the Broward County School District.
According to the allegations in the Indictment, from approximately November 2007 through June 2009, Beverly Gallagher used her official position, in exchange for the unlawful receipt of property, including money and other things of value. Specifically, Gallagher allegedly agreed to act as an undisclosed “consultant” and to use her influence working “behind the scenes” to obtain contracts or other favorable actions from the Broward Country School District for contractors associated with the undercover FBI agents. Gallagher allegedly insisted that she be paid in cash and for her personal benefit, instead of to her political campaign. In total, Gallagher allegedly accepted $12,500 in cash and other property, including boat trips and the payment of restaurant bills. In exchange for the cash and other remuneration, Gallagher is alleged to have used her official position to benefit contractors who were attempting to become pre-qualified before the Broward County School Board and obtain various projects and subcontract work on projects from the Broward County School Board.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman said, “Elected officials are held to a high standard of conduct because of the special position of trust given them by the public. We, as citizens, have a right to hold them to this standard, and to demand that they be held accountable. In this case, Gallagher’s actions fell far short of this standard. She used her office for purely personal gain, and must now face the consequences of her actions. Good governance requires no less.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies stated, “Beverly Gallagher betrayed the trust placed in her by the citizens of Broward County by using her position as a school board member for her own personal benefit. As the top criminal priority of the FBI, we will continue to work with our partners and devote all necessary resources to address public corruption where we find it.”
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, in connection with the investigation of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Neil Karadbil.
An Indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.