Galvan pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in connection with questionable spending practices in his duties as coroner.
Galvan entered a guilty plea on a single federal corruption charge Wednesday afternoon. Galvan said nothing leaving the courthouse.
Federal prosecutors were prepared to prove that he used taxpayer money for the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s office to buy personal items like a generator and life raft for his personal boat as well as a GPS device. Together, the items have a value of about $20,000.
Galvan’s sentencing is set for January 29 at 2:00 in the afternoon. He could get up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The former St. Tammany Parish Coroner may be in bigger trouble following a report by the state Legislative Auditor.
The legislative audit made public on Monday details Dr. Peter Galvan’s alleged fraudulent financial records.
Galvan resigned as Parish Coroner Friday after being charged in a bill of information with conspiring to steal money from the coroner’s office.
“I want every politician in St. Tammany Parish to take a deep look at what`s happening,” says Rick Franzo with Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany.”
Franzo, who led the Dr. Peter Galvan re-call petition says the audit should serve notice, the days of elected officials in St. Tammany Parish taking advantage of taxpayer`s money are over, “The citizens in St. Tammany, I think we have a lot to be proud of what we did accomplish.”
The audit reveals documents Galvan was paid $30,000 of vacation time never recorded.
(Click below to view entire legislative audit)
Boating equipment, airplane accessories and fuel cost were paid for with public money plus hundreds of dollars for wine and other alcohol.
“The state Attorney General needs to start looking at things and possibly prosecute,” says Franzo.
By law, the state Legislative Auditor has already submitted the 113 page public document to both the Governor and the state Attorney General.
Terry King, who along with his wife Dr. Laura King first alerted authorities to Galvan’s alleged wrong doings, say the Attorney General has an obligation to respond. “If the Louisiana State Attorney General does not perform an investigation and file charges from this information, I don`t see how they can control state employees or parish employees in the future. Where the audit says he violated the constitution and state law, that`s the Legislative Auditors way of telling the Attorney General, this need to be looked at.”
Galvan will be in court Wednesday where King’s sources say Galvan will change his plea to guilty.
If that happens, a date will be set for sentencing.
(For more, click below)
The Office of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor released the following two documents about former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan:
Dr. Peter Galvan’s resignation came at 5:30 Friday evening.
“They did receive the notarized version of Dr. Galvan`s resignation letter,” confirms Council Chairman Jerry Binder who says the first step to a new St. Tammany Parish Coroner is finding an interim coroner to serve the unexpired term.
Chief Deputy Coroner Dr. Michael De Fatta doesn`t want the job but will stay on for 20 more days, “He has declined to be interim coroner.”
Meantime the parish is taking applications.
“Among whatever medical Dr.`s provide their resumes who ‘only’ want to be an interim coroner” says Binder who adds that whoever becomes interim coroner, the parish wants them to stay clear of a busy election, “How do you be interim coroner and run for an election?”
Instead of holding a costly ‘special’ election Binder says grouping the coroner in with a ‘scheduled’ election will save money, “That would coincide with the city of Slidell`s election for council, police chief and mayor.”
After serving the twenty days as interim coroner Dr. De Fatta will revert ‘back’ to Chief Deputy Coroner.
The election is the first Saturday in April.
Traditionally, the Chief Deputy Coroner would fill the role on an interim basis until a permanent replacement can be found. However, the current Chief Deputy Coroner, Dr. Michael DeFatta, has declined this position.
The St. Tammany Parish Council is expected to fill the interim position within 20 days, then begin searching for a permanent replacement.
According to a news release from the council, “only those individuals who agree not to be candidates in the election to be called to fill the unexpired term of Coroner should apply” for the interim position.
Read the full text of the release here: STP Council – Coroner PRESS RELEASE _Oct 18 2013_
Saint Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges.
Galvan is accused of lavish spending in the coroner’s office at taxpayers’ expense. Documents also show Galvan used taxpayer money for meals, recreation, and other personal perks. He could face up to 5 years in jail.
The parish government says Galvan is expected to resign on Friday.
His trial is set for December 16.
After a long investigation on the North Shore St. Tammany Parish coroner Dr. Peter Galvin now faces federal charges.
Galvin is charged with conspiracy to commit theft of property from a municipal institution.
Galvin is expected to officially resign in one week.
No longer necessary, Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany Parish President Rick Franzo led a recall petition drive needing 54,000 signatures, “We were on course to achieve that number. You look at the numbers and you look at the expenses and you can see he`s sitting on a stock pile of money.”
The coroner was charged in a bill of information rather than by a grand jury, which often indicates the accused in cooperating.
“We did need to get to an end on it so we can move forward,” says St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister. “The transparency of what we do day to day is something we owe the public.”
Brister says when making a ‘new’ budget plan for the coroner’s office, parish leaders uncovered an alarming discovery, “There was I think 1.3 million dollars ‘more’ they had. You can use that to kind of gauge how much excess funds there may have been.”
The first deputy coroner takes over operations within 20 days until a ‘special election” determines a new parish coroner.
“Number one, we can move forward,” says Franzo. “Number two, the tax payers finally get a resolution to a problem that has been turmoil to this community for quite some time”
In all, Galvan is facing six felony counts.
If convicted he could serve up to five years in prison.
(from St. Tammany Parish Government) – As was released by the United States Attorney’s office earlier today, Peter Galvan will resign as the St. Tammany Parish Coroner effective Friday, October 18, 2013.
“Today, we are glad that justice will be served, and the situation brought on by Dr. Galvan will be corrected,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We have worked for months cooperating with the authorities to provide them the information they need to arrive at this decision. This administration and the Parish Council are eager to move forward with financial oversight of a new Coroner’s Office, a coroner’s office that the citizens of this Parish deserve.”
Parish Government and the Council have recently assumed greater oversight of the financials of the Coroner’s office as a direct response to legislation that was passed in the last session to reverse a 2007 law that allowed the Coroner to oversee his own finances.
“I have consistently said that government should work with efficiency and effectiveness, and there is no place for a public servant that goes down the road of abuse and squander,” said Brister.