Orange County

Orange County Sheriff's Investigator, Recruit Charged in Application Scam

“We hold our employees to a high standard and will hold them accountable for wrongdoing,” Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement

Photo by Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A background investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Department was charged Wednesday with falsifying information to get his ex-roommate hired as a deputy, prosecutors said.

Jeremy Buraglia, an 11-year veteran of the department, was accused of changing documents in 2018 to make Mario Barragan appear qualified to become a recruit “despite his problematic past," a statement from the county district attorney's office said.

Barragan was on probation as a police officer with the Pomona Police Department when he was fired in 2015 for violating social media policies by posting photos of department equipment with odd hashtags, prosecutors said.

Between 2012 and 2018, Barragan had applied to the Sheriff's Department for a job several times and also applied to three other Orange County police departments but was rejected, authorities said.

But Barragan's fall 2018 application with the Sheriff's Department was accepted after Buraglia, who conducted his background investigation, forged a letter from the Pomona police chief and failed to note that he and Barragan had been roommates, prosecutors said.

Barragan was hired as a trainee and assigned to attend the Sheriff’s Department training academy but hadn’t graduated when an investigation began, authorities said.

He was released from his probation and Buraglia was suspended, a Sheriff's Department said.

Buraglia is charged with three felony counts of conspiracy and false personation. Barragan is charged with conspiracy.

It wasn't immediately clear whether they had attorneys to represent them.

“We hold our employees to a high standard and will hold them accountable for wrongdoing,” Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement, adding that the agency is determined “to not tolerate misconduct and be accountable to the public we serve.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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