The FBI is currently investigating Compton’s Deputy Treasurer Salvador Galvan’s dealings with the city regarding allegations of embezzlement. An internal investigation began after City Treasurer Doug Sanders was examining ledgers and noticed several discrepancies. A day after the discrepancies were discovered, Galvan confessed to a co-worker that he had been stealing money for years. LASD deputies took Galvan into custody at 2:49 pm Wednesday, and posted bail early Thursday morning.
Embezzlement is covered under California Penal Code 503 PC and is described as fraudulently appropriating property that belongs to someone else and has been entrusted to you. Embezzlement, which is often associated with large sums of money and major companies, can be charged even if the money or property is small in amount or worth. To be charged with embezzlement, one must only commit actions that fit the criteria of the crime.
The crime is handled similar to California’s grand theft and petty theft laws. If the money or property is worth more than $950, is a firearm or is an automobile, the embezzlement is a form of grand theft, and thus a “wobbler,” which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include up to 1 year in county jail, informal probation and a fine of up to $1,000. Felony charges include up to 3 years in county jail, formal probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
This isn’t the first time Compton’s city government has come under scrutiny. Former Mayor Omar Bradley, former Councilman Amen Rahh, and former former City Manager John D. Johnson II were convicted of misappropriation of public funds in 2004. In 2012, Bradley’s charges were reversed under appeal.
As of yet, it is unknown just how much money was embezzled, though Galvan has, since 1994, been handling cash for the city. He collected payments from Compton residents regarding water and trash bills, building licenses and business permits.