Ex-coroner Peter Galvan gets another year in jail

COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Former coroner Peter Galvan returned to St Tammany Parish on Thursday under heavy security. Already serving time on federal corruption charges, he pleaded guilty to state corruption charges and was given extra jail time.

Galvan wore handcuffs and a prison jumpsuit for a brief appearance in the parish courthouse.

"This has taken us a while," said Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell. "We were monitoring what was going on in the federal court."

Galvan pleaded guilty to a three-count state indictment, admitting to padding his salary and engaging in an illegal contract with the city of Slidell to provide medical services in a scheme first revealed in a series of FOX 8 Lee Zurik investigations called Body of Evidence.

"We were concerned about the Slidell jail services contract," said Caldwell. "Galvan got $400,000 on the federal side. He only paid back 50 grand. That wasn't enough for us."

Under an agreement reached with the state attorney general, Galvan got a three-year jail sentence, with two years being served at the same time, as his current federal stint. He must also pay $350,000 in restitution to the city of Slidell, with a down payment paid Thursday.

"First time, I've gotten a $50,000 check in my pocket," said Caldwell. "I'll make sure I don't lose it. I'm gonna go give it to the mayor."

An hour later, Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan told FOX 8, "I've already turned the money over to our finance director, and it will be decided at that time where the money will go to."

Caldwell also said the state investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in the St. Tammany coroner's office isn't over yet.

"We met with the FBI - they came to us with other information - and we do still have some things working in this case, potentially with other individuals," said Caldwell.

The city of Slidell no longer contracts with the coroner's office to provide prisoner medical services.

State prosecutors hope this case sends a clear message.

"You can't use the office to profit fraudulently, even though there was some work done, but you got to give it all back," said Caldwell.

And other coroner's employees may still be prosecuted.

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