Lead Story West Edition

Compton’s former deputy treasurer charged with embezzlement

LOS ANGELES — Compton’s former deputy treasurer was arrested March 29 on federal charges for allegedly embezzling more than $3.7 million in city funds.

Salvador Galvan, 47, of La Mirada, was arrested by FBI special agents on a criminal complaint that could land him in prison for up to five years if he is convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Galvan is accused of stealing $3,721,924 from May 2010 through last December, according to the complaint filed March 28.

Galvan, who worked in the Compton Treasurer’s Office for more than 20 years, was responsible for tallying the cash received by the city as payment for parking tickets, business licenses and other fees. After the cash was counted, Galvan prepared the money for deposit into a city bank account, according to court documents.

Galvan allegedly skimmed cash from the daily receipts on numerous occasions. An audit of the city’s cash deposits identified discrepancies varying from about $200 to $8,000 per day, according to the affidavit in support of the complaint.

The FBI interviewed Galvan’s supervisor, who “reflected about Galvan’s time in the office, his unexplained affluence, and his generosity,” according to the affidavit.

The supervisor told investigators that Galvan went from driving an “old Toyota” to increasingly luxurious vehicles, including a black Audi sedan, the document says.

The affidavit also states that Galvan told his supervisor that he purchased a residence in La Mirada and demolished the house so he could rebuild it — all on an annual salary of roughly $60,000.

“The people of Compton deserved better,” said acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “This defendant stole millions of dollars intended to help residents, placing his own greed over their interests.”

Galvan was arrested late last year by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in relation to the alleged theft of city funds. The federal case that led to Galvan’s arrest resulted from further investigation by the FBI.

Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, alleged Galvan “violated the trust of the public he served by stealing money designated for the betterment of the Compton community.”

“By operating a scheme whereby he skimmed Compton city coffers to live beyond his means, Mr. Galvan faces significant federal charges and time behind bars,” she said.

Compton Mayor Aja Brown said the city is working to strengthen its financial controls “to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.”

“Over the last several years, this city council has worked to approve new internal controls, improve our fiscal accountability and root out corruption and wasteful spending at every opportunity in an effort to be good custodians of our residents’ tax dollars,” Brown said. “Let me be clear. Any city official who has been found to have breeched their duties as stewards of the public trust will be held accountable for their actions and relieved of duty.”