WASHINGTON – An Omaha, Neb., man was charged in an indictment unsealed today for allegedly trying to solicit corrupt payments from an individual in return for a promised reduction in the individual’s ultimate prison sentence, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Austin Galvan, 29, was charged in a two-count indictment unsealed today in the District of Nebraska with one count of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He was arrested on Aug. 26, 2011, by FBI agents and made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Thalken in federal court in Omaha.
According to the indictment, Galvan told an associate who was facing federal criminal charges in the District of Nebraska that he, Galvan, had a law enforcement contact in Nebraska who could secure a substantial reduction in his associate’s prison sentence in exchange for corrupt payments. Galvan, in fact, had no such contact.
According to the indictment, in conversations with his associate in May and June 2010, Galvan urged him not to cooperate with federal authorities. Galvan allegedly assured his associate that his contact was in a position to help secure a reduction in the associate’s prison sentence, provided that corrupt payments were made. Galvan also gave his associate what he claimed were official documents given to him by his purported law enforcement contact. According to the indictment, Galvan provided his associate with an audio recording of a court hearing that he claimed his purported law enforcement contact had given him. In fact, Galvan had downloaded the recording from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, or PACER. The indictment also alleges that Galvan provided his associate with what he claimed was the business card of a federal judge who would assist in securing the sentence reduction, when in fact no federal judge was involved.
Galvan’s associate was sentenced in March 2011 to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted, Galvan faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and up to 10 years in prison on the obstruction charge. He also faces maximum fines of $250,000 for each count.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Kevin Driscoll, Barak Cohen and Brian Lichter of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case is being investigated by the FBI.