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Disgraced Omaha ex-police officer will serve prison time

Third of four defendants in public corruption scheme sentenced
Posted at 10:01 PM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-11 23:01:17-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — Less than one year after federal indictments were unsealed in a public corruption case involving a now-former city councilmember, police captain, uniformed officer and a fundraiser, the latest of three defendants now knows his sentence.

Johnny Palermo, who was an officer with the Omaha Police Department, was sentenced to two years in federal court Thursday in Lincoln. Palermo changed his plea to guilty in Januaryon a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. This allowed multiple other charges against him to be dismissed, including fraud, aiding and abetting, obstruction of justice and conspiracy, according to the plea agreement filed Jan. 16.

Palermo was president of the Omaha Latino Police Officers Association. His conviction stems from a conspiracy to take funds from the LPOA. Palermo retired from OPD in January 2023, three months before the indictment was unsealed, but after it was revealed that he was a subject in an FBI investigation involving Police Athletics for Community Engagement (PACE), an organization that aims to give athletic opportunities to at-risk youth.

Three of four defendants — Former Omaha City Councilmember Vinny Palermo (no relation to Johnny Palermo), Former OPD Captain Rich Gonzales, and now Johnny Palermo, changed their pleas to guilty. Gonzales was sentenced to 18 months for his role, while Vinny Palermo was sentenced to 18 months for wire fraud to be followed by an additional nine months due to violating the terms of his probation. The fourth defendant, Jack Olsen, is scheduled to go to trial in June.

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