“If you don’t want to be caught between a hammer and the anvil . . . don’t steal.” Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell
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In the Louisiana parish of St. Tammany their former coroner has been convicted on charges of using the office of the dead for personal financial gain.
Doctor Peter R. Galvan, age 54, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and fined $5,000. The sentencing of Galvan, who resigned in October and pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge, ends the tale of a soap-opera scandal that was the gossip of St. Tammany for more than a year. With an outraged citizenry and the parish government takeover of coroner’s office finances Galvan’s cavalier use of taxpayer money, along with his refusal to even discuss the spending, prompted the St. Tammany Parish Council to take the extraordinary step last March of formally asking him to step down.
The federal government charged Galvan in October, when investigators determined that the wayward physician was taking sick leave money in the amount of $111,376 which he was not entitled to. He is believed to have entered into illegal contracts with other agencies from which he profited by more than $300,000.
The doctor also bought a $9,000 generator for his boat; a GPS system and other items amounting to over $7,000 for his personal use – all with public money.
According to court documents, Galvan took advantage of coroner’s office credit card to buy meals and personal items for more than $15,000, all of which were unrelated to business.
“I apologize to the people of St. Tammany Parish who elected me,” Galvan told the court. “I betrayed their trust. I have ruined my career and reputation.”
Terry King, the whistle blower who exposed the wrongdoing in the coroner’s office and shared documents with investigators and the news media, said he was satisfied with the punishment.
Galvan, who is married to Doctor Alison Galvan, had been coroner since 2000. A wrongful termination lawsuit filed against him in 2010 by former coroner staff member Terry King, led to the release of public records by the coroner’s office that revealed lavish spending by the office and other questionable practices.
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This particular lab coat loon graduated from Louisiana State University at New Orleans in 1989.
He will not be attending his graduating class party this summer.
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