SANTA ANA, Calif. – An Orange County Sheriff’s Investigator and a Sheriff’s recruit have been charged with felonies for conspiring to falsify background information included in the recruit’s application in order to get him hired by the Sheriff’s Department.
Jeremy Ryan Buraglia, 33, of Anaheim Hills, was assigned to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Professional Standards Division as a sworn Sheriff’s Investigator when he is accused of agreeing to conduct a background investigation for a prospective recruit, Mario Barragan.
Buraglia failed to disclose the fact that he and Barragan, 34, of Anaheim Hills, had lived together for several years.
Barragan was fired in April 2015 while still on probation as a police officer with the Pomona Police Department for violating the Department’s social media policy by posting photos of department equipment along with the hashtags “brasspass,” “causeIcan,” and “wisha*****would.” Between 2012 and 2018, Barragan applied to become a Sheriff’s Deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) four different times. He also applied with three other Orange County police departments. All of those applications were rejected for various reasons.
Despite having a longtime friendship with Barragan, Buraglia is accused of conducting the background investigation for Barragan’s final OCSD application in September 2018. Buraglia is accused of omitting relevant information, making false statements, and fabricating and altering supporting documents to make Barragan look qualified to become a sworn peace officer despite his problematic past.
Barragan’s October 2018 OCSD application included a forged letter from Pomona Police Chief Paul J. Capraro dated October 6, 2018. Capraro had retired from the Pomona Police Department in 2017 and was no longer the Chief in 2018. Buraglia is accused of forging Capraro’s signature.
Based in part on a fabricated and incomplete background investigation, Barragan was hired and was assigned to attend the OCSD Regional Training Academy to become a deputy sheriff.
Recruit Barragan was still in the academy as a deputy trainee when the Sheriff’s Department received a tip and began investigating Buraglia’s conflict of interest with regard to Barragan and the reasons for his termination from the Pomona Police Department.
The District Attorney’s Office has now charged Buraglia with three felonies, including two counts of false personation for forging a recommendation letter and falsifying or forging several OCSD reference forms, and conspiracy to present a false background investigation file to obstruct OCSD’s hiring decision.
Barragan is charged with one felony count of conspiracy to present a false background investigation file to obstruct the officers’ hiring decision.
Buraglia faces a maximum of four years and four months in state prison if convicted of all charges. Barragan faces a maximum of three years in state prison if convicted of all charges.
“The badge of a law enforcement officer is a symbol of public trust. Those who wear the badge have a fundamental duty to serve mankind, to safeguard lives, protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression, and the peaceful against violence or disorder,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Unfortunately, there are those who are not worthy of wearing that badge – and holding that public trust. The background process is designed to weed out bad actors who have no business having a career in law enforcement. The manipulation of the background process by a sworn peace officer tarnishes the badge and erodes the public trust. It will not be tolerated and it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Barragan is no longer employed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Buraglia is on administrative leave.
Barragan and Buraglia are scheduled to be arraigned August 4, 2020.
This case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Steven Schriver of Special Prosecutions.