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Ex-Compton official and his wife plead guilty in $3.7-million embezzlement scheme

Compton’s city treasurer pocketed anywhere from $200 to $8,000 a day in amounts small enough that they went unnoticed for years. Above, Compton City Hall. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

The former deputy city treasurer of Compton pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $3.7 million from city coffers over a six-year period, according to federal court records.

Salvador Galvan, who spent more than two decades working for the city, was responsible for tallying the cash Compton received from residents paying their water bills, business license fees, building permit fees and trash bills, then depositing the funds at the bank.

Starting in May 2010, according to federal officials and court records, Galvan, a resident of La Mirada, would pocket anywhere from $200 to $8,000 a day, in amounts small enough that they went unnoticed for years. That’s until one colleague spotted a $7,000 discrepancy that triggered an investigation.

Meanwhile, other employees privately thought some of his more lavish purchases, as well as his generosity in the office, were suspicious given his $60,000 annual salary.

Galvan’s supervisor told investigators that he’d upgraded an old Toyota to a black Audi sedan. Galvan also reportedly paid for office parties and purchased gift cards for cashiers, along with a Keurig coffee machine for the office.

When he was confronted, prosecutors alleged, Galvan confessed.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested Galvan late last year in connection with the theft of city funds. He posted bond and remained out of custody until March, when he was arrested by federal agents.

In a federal courtroom Thursday, Galvan pleaded guilty to one count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds. According to the plea agreement, Galvan will be required to pay full restitution.

Galvan’s wife, Rosa, who was accused of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and money orders from her husband, pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a monetary transaction involving property derived from specified unlawful activity, records show.

Attorneys representing the couple could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The pair are scheduled to be sentenced in November.

Follow me on Twitter @AleneTchek

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