Lee Zurik Investigation: FBI investigating St. Tammany coroner

File photo of Dr. Peter Galvan
File photo of Dr. Peter Galvan

St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan is under federal investigation.  FOX 8 News received a copy of an FBI subpoena given to Dr. Galvan, who's the focus of a series of stories on FOX 8.

The subpoena asks the parish coroner to hand over a long list of records to the FBI by 9:00 Thursday morning.

"When they start an investigation, they want to know as much as they can possibly now," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.  "So they make a subpoena as broad as they can possibly make it. They think of every possible record that you can have that they can get… they want it."

The federal government wants information related to an airplane Galvan owns.  Records show Galvan's company Galcor, Inc. owns a single-engine plane.  We have seen many of those flight records.  We ordered his flight history for the past three years.  Galvan mostly uses it to travel to the Alabama Gulf Coast, where he owns a condo.

The FBI also wants a copy of every expenditure made by the coroner since January 1, 2007.  That includes all detailed credit card information.

Our series of stories detailed questionable spending made by Galvan and his CPA, Kim Kelly, on meals, alcohol, even groceries.

They want calendars for Galvan and four other people in his office, including Kelly.

Raspanti said, "Because of all the coverage that came from this station about the things that he did and how much money he paid himself, there's been a bunch of noise about it, and it gave people in St. Tammany Parish a lot of heartburn."

Sources say the FBI is also looking into whether Galvan committed payroll fraud by receiving money for unused vacation time, even though Facebook photos show Galvan on vacation in Greece, Spain, the California wine country and Mexico during the time periods in question.

"And now, it seems like possibly he drifted into taking paid vacation and et cetera… that may drift into the level of payroll fraud," said Raspanti.  "And the ironic thing is, he had carte blanche to pay himself whatever he wanted.  He could have just written himself a check and not gotten into the game of how many vacation days he took, and not had any criminal exposure. And now, he may."

Sources tell us Galvan has hired criminal defense attorney Bob Habens. 

For almost a month, Galvan has been silent, unable or unwilling to answer our questions.  Soon, he may be forced to answer them in front of federal investigators.


Next installment: Lee Zurik Investigation: Citizens group begins Galvan recall effort