Former Alachua County sheriff's deputy is indicted for bribery

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 8:48 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 8:48 a.m.

Former Alachua County sheriff's Deputy Josue Ostolaza was arrested Tuesday on a federal indictment charging him with soliciting and accepting bribes while employed with the Sheriff's Office, announced U.S. Attorney Pamela C. Marsh.

The six-count indictment also charges Ostolaza with conspiracy to commit bribery and with four counts of unlawful access of a protected computer.

The indictment alleges that between January 2003 and December 2007, Ostolaza accepted more than $14,000 from Robert Krasnow in exchange for using his influence as a deputy for Krasnow's benefit. According to the indictment, Ostolaza misused his position to protect Krasnow from domestic violence investigations and possible arrests.

The indictment also alleges that on four occasions, Ostolaza intentionally accessed the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles Driver and Vehicle Information database in a manner that exceeded his authority for the purpose of private financial gain.

Ostolaza was fired by Sheriff Sadie Darnell in 2007 following an internal investigation into allegations involving the Krasnow family.

Ostolaza, according to the internal investigation, had known Robert Krasnow Sr. and then met Robert Krasnow Jr. and his wife in February 2003 when he went to a domestic disturbance call in which they were involved.

Ostolaza admitted that he saw physical injuries on the woman consistent with domestic violence but took no action, an internal investigation found. In an interview with an FBI agent, he admitted he would answer calls from the man in the middle of the night or speak to a deputy handling the call and put a negative spin on details about the woman.

He also responded to their home to conduct investigations and provide security over the past few years and admitted he had violated Sheriff's Office policy when he responded to these calls, the report stated. If convicted of all charges, Ostolaza faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

He is scheduled to have an initial appearance in federal district court in Gainesville at 11:30 a.m. today.

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