BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER SENTENCED ON BRIBERY CHARGE
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Beverly Gallagher, 51, of Pembroke Pines, was sentenced today on one count of bribery in programs receiving federal funds. At today’s hearing, U.S. District Court Judge James I. Cohn sentenced Gallagher to 37 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, Judge Cohn ordered that the defendant participate in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program while in prison.
Today’s sentence follows Gallagher’s March 17 guilty plea to Count 2 of the indictment against her, which charged her with accepting $9,000 in exchange for her promise to assist undercover FBI agents in connection with the issuance of a contract and subcontract work for the reconstruction and renovation of Hollywood Hills High School.
According to court documents and statements made in court at the plea and sentencing hearings, Gallagher, who was first elected to the Broward County School Board in 2000 and re-elected in 2004 and 2008, met on numerous occasions with FBI agents acting in an undercover capacity. Two of the agents held themselves out to be asset managers who purportedly represented contractors seeking to obtain construction contracts with local government entities, including the Broward County School Board.
More specifically, at the March 17 plea hearing, Gallagher admitted, among other things, that on December 23, 2008, she accepted $3,000 cash from the undercover agent for “hooking up” the undercover’s construction company client for subcontracting work. Gallagher further admitted that on June 3, 2009, she accepted $6,000 cash for her efforts to obtain subcontracting work on the Hollywood Hills project on behalf of that construction company client.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “Corrupt officials, at all levels of government – whether elected or appointed – are on notice that if they breach the public’s trust, by stealing or accepting bribes or engaging in any other form of corruption in the course of their official duties, they will be prosecuted and they will face substantial prison time.”
Beverly Gallagher was elected to the school board, promising to help children get the best education possible,” said John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Miami Division. “Instead, she used her position for her own personal gain. In this economy, with schools already cutting budgets and laying off teachers, it is disgraceful what Beverly Gallagher did. This is reminder to all who serve in elected positions that if you break the law, you will get caught and you will go to jail.”
U.S. Attorney Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service in connection with the investigation and prosecution of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Neil Karadbil.
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 http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.