Feds Charge St. Tammany Coroner with Theft

Feds charge St. Tammany Coroner Peter Galvan

St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan – whose lavish spending of taxpayer dollars sparked public indignation and demands for his resignation that have dogged him throughout the year – was charged by the federal government Friday with conspiracy to commit theft of property from a municipal institution receiving federal funds.

His problems arose in January with media reports that his office made liberal use of public funds, spending more than $36,000 on meals at 151 different restaurants since 2006. It also racked up substantial spending on specialty items, some of which would seem to have little to do with the operation of the coroner’s office — purchases at groceries, retail stores, sporting goods/outdoor outlets, even a school that provides flight lessons, agency records showed.

Other media reports followed, questioning Galvan’s cashing in of unused sick time and noting that his agency’s payroll had risen 350 percent since 2004. Also brought to light was the fact that Galvan was paid over $200,000 as a part-time coroner while holding down a full time medical practice in Slidell.

U. S. Attorney Press Release:

PETER GALVIN, 54, a resident of St. Tammany Parish, and the elected St. Tammany Parish Coroner, was charged today in a bill of information with conspiring with two other individuals to steal money from the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office, announced U. S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr.

The bill of information charges that as an elected official, GALVAN did not earn annual or sick leave. 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 Bill of Information charges that the Coroner’s Office employee was paid at least $50,000 in public funds to fulfill GALVIN’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 for his personal use valued at $2,395, all with St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office funds.

Finally, the Bill of Information alleges that 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.

If he is convicted, GALVAN faces a statutory maximum of five years in jail, a $250,000 fine and restitution.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr. reiterated that a Bill of Information is simply an allegation and that Dr. GALVAN is presumed to be innocent and he noted the investigation of the operation and personnel employed by the St. Tammany Coroner’s Office is continuing.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and the State of Louisiana Legislative Auditor. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carter K. D. Guice, Jr. and Chandra Menon

One Response to “Feds Charge St. Tammany Coroner with Theft”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Jonesboro could learn from this.

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