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Former Omaha Police Department captain sentenced to 18 months in prison

Posted at 9:17 PM, Jan 16, 2024

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A judge has sentenced former Omaha Police Captain Richie Gonzalez to 18 months in prison for his role in a fraud case that involved former city council member Vinny Palermo.

Prosecutors said Richie Gonzalez eroded public trust with the city of Omaha, Omaha City Council, Omaha Police Department and more.

He was ordered to pay over $66,000 in restitution for defrauding the Latino Police Officers Association and PACE, the Police Athletics for Community Engagement. Those are police organizations designed to help disadvantaged youth.

In court, Tuesday, Gonzales acknowledged a lapse of judgment. In August, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in exchange for dismissing other charges.

Steve Lefler, Gonzalez's attorney wanted a sentence of just 15 months but settled for 18 months.

"I can't tell you how much remorse he feels," Lefler said. "Not just because he got caught. He knows that he's hurt the public trust for the next couple years. PACE is going to suffer a bit financially, maybe even more than a little bit. PACE is going to suffer in terms of the kids he could help."

For now, Gonzales will pay out restitution over a three year period with supervised release.