Suspended School Board Member To Plead Guilty
Beverly Gallagher To Take Plea Deal
POSTED: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
UPDATED: 6:01 pm EDT March 16,2010

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Suspended Broward County School Board member Beverly Gallagher has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Gallagher will plead guilty to one count of bribery when she stands before a federal judge Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale.

The suspended school board member was arrested in September in an undercover FBI sting. She was accused of promising to steer lucrative school construction contracts to companies that paid her kickbacks.

Gallagher originally was charged with seven felony counts that could have sent her to prison for decades. After negotiations by her attorney to plead guilty to one count of bribery, Gallagher now faces three to four years in prison. ------------

Broward School Board member to plead guilty
Beverly Gallagher to plead to one bribery charge Wednesday
By Paula McMahon, Sun Sentinel
5:18 PM EDT, March 16, 2010

Suspended Broward School Board member Beverly Gallagher has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that will end the public corruption case against her, her attorney said Tuesday.

Gallagher, 51, of Pembroke Pines, is scheduled to plead guilty to one count of bribery in federal court in Fort Lauderdale at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, her lawyer Dave Bogenschutz said.

"She made the decision based on the kind and weight of the evidence against her and what's best for Beverly and her family in this situation," Bogenschutz said.

Under sentencing guidelines, which are not binding on the judge, she faces between three and four years in prison.

Gallagher was one of three Broward politicians who were arrested in late September in an undercover FBI public corruption sting. She was charged with honest-services fraud, extortion and bribery. She is accused of accepting money from undercover FBI agents she thought were contractors in exchange for helping them get work with the school district.

She has been free on $100,000 bail pending a trial that was tentatively scheduled for later this year.

Gallagher was charged with seven federal felonies including one count of extortion, one count of bribery and four counts of honest services fraud. If convicted after a trial, she was facing up to 10 years in prison for the bribery count and 20 years for each of the other charges. Each charge also carried a maximum fine of $250,000.

Federal prosecutors and Bogenschutz were involved in lengthy plea negotiations over the last four months. One of the sticking points was Gallagher's unwillingness to plead guilty to honest services fraud.

The hearing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge James Cohn.