SANTA ANA (CNS) - Charges were filed on Wednesday against an Orange County Sheriff's Department investigator and a sheriff's recruit for allegedly falsifying background information to get the recruit hired by the department.
Jeremy Ryan Buraglia, 33, an 11-year veteran of the sheriff's department, conducted a background investigation into prospective recruit Mario Barragan in September 2018, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Barragan, 34, was a former officer for the Pomona Police Department, but was fired in April 2015 for violating the department's social media policies.
Buraglia allegedly left out the fact that the two lived together, and that Barragan had unsuccessfully applied to be a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff's Department several times in the past, according to the department.
Buraglia also is accused of fabricating documents to make Barragan look more qualified than he actually was. For example, he allegedly forged a letter and signature from Pomona Police Department Chief Paul Capraro dated Oct. 6, 2018.
Barragan was hired by the department in November 2018 as a deputy sheriff trainee, the sheriff's department said. The department later received a tip that led to an investigation into Buraglia's conflict of interest regarding Barragan and the reasons for Barragan's termination from the Pomona Police Department.
Buraglia was charged with three felonies, including two counts of false impersonation for forging the recommendation letter and falsifying or forging several sheriff's department reference forms.
Buraglia was also charged with conspiring to present the sheriff's department with a false background investigation file in order to obstruct the department's hiring decision. He faces a maximum of four years and four months in state prison.
Barragan, who was also charged with conspiracy to present a false background investigation file to obstruct the sheriff's department's hiring decision, faces a maximum of three years in state prison.
“I am deeply disappointed in the actions of Mr. Buraglia,'' said Sheriff Don Barnes.
“We hold our employees to a high standard and will hold them accountable for wrongdoing. This criminal investigation conducted by our department against one of our own speaks to the determination of our agency to not tolerate misconduct and be accountable to the public we serve.''
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