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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Former St. Tammany Coroner, Peter Galvan, Sentenced For Conspiracy To Steal Funds From Coroner's Office

PETER GALVAN, 54, a resident of St. Tammany Parish, and the former St. Tammany Parish Coroner, was sentenced today to serve 24 months in federal custody followed by one year of supervised release, fined $5,000, and ordered to pay restitution of at least $193,388.  GALVAN pled guilty to conspiring to steal government funds from the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office on October 23, 2013, announced U. S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.

According to the Factual Basis, the Bill of Information to which GALVAN pled guilty, and other court documents filed in federal court:

GALVAN earned annual or sick leave to which he was not entitled.  However, with the assistance of another coroner’s office employee, GALVAN received yearly payments for unused annual and sick leave, totaling $111,376 over a five year period.

GALVAN, as a physician, individually contracted with the City of Slidell, Louisiana to provide medical services for inmates of the Slidell City Jail.  The contract was not with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, but with GALVAN personally.  However, GALVAN conspired with another individual employed with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office to service this contract while the other individual was supposed to be working for and was being paid by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office.  The Coroner’s Office employee was paid at least $50,000 in public funds to fulfill GALVAN’s personal contract.

Additionally, GALVAN conspired with an employee of the coroner’s office to purchase a $9,170 generator for GALVAN’s personal vessel, a life raft and life jackets for his personal vessel valued at $4,841, and a Global Positioning Satellite Receiver for his personal use valued at $2,395, all with St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office funds.

Finally, GALVAN used his St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office credit card to make purchases of meals and other personal items with his public credit card totaling $15,606 which were unrelated to the office’s business.

The investigation of the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office is continuing.

“Members of this community, and indeed residents of this entire state, are tired of corruption and the negative effect it has on our reputation, economic development, and quality of life,” stated United States Attorney Polite. “Our residents expect that elected officials will provide honest services to the public, not use their offices or titles to enrich themselves.  We expect, and will no longer tolerate, anything less.”

Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Orleans Field Office, Michael Anderson stated: “This conviction clearly highlights the significant importance of the continuous engagement of the local citizenry to support law enforcement’s priority mission to address fraud, corruption and betrayals of public trust.” 

“Today's sentencing of Dr. Peter Galvan again emphasizes the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement partners will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who defraud the public and divert public money for personal use." said Gabriel L. Grchan, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, New Orleans Field Office. "Honest taxpayers have been reassured today that no one is above the law."

Mr. Polite praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and the State of Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Fraud Unit, Assistant United States Attorneys Carter K. D. Guice, Jr. and Chandra Menon.