FORMER ST. TAMMANY CORONER PETER GALVAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO STEAL FUNDS FROM CORONER'S OFFICE
PETER GALVAN, 54, a resident of St. Tammany Parish, and the former St. Tammany Parish Coroner, pled guilty today to one count of conspiring to steal government funds from the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.
U.S. Attorney Polite stated: “Today’s guilty plea ensures that Peter Galvan will be punished for abusing the public trust for his personal gain.”
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."
Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Gabriel Grchan stated: “We have worked hard with our federal partners to obtain the guilty plea entered today by Peter Galvan. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to pursuing the prosecution of public officers who misuse taxpayer dollars for their personal gain.”
According to the Factual Basis, the Bill of Information to which GALVAN pled guilty, and other documents filed in federal court:
GALVAN, a former elected official, 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 another 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.
GALVAN faces a statutory maximum of five years in jail, a $250,000 fine and restitution of twice his gain or twice the victims’ loss, whichever is greater. He is scheduled for sentencing on January 29, 2014 by U.S. District Court Judge Susie Morgan.
The investigation of the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office is continuing.
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 General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carter K. D. Guice, Jr. and Chandra Menon are in charge of the prosecution.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org