Former Compton deputy treasurer charged with embezzling $3.7M

Galvan could face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.


Accused of stealing more than $3.7 million in city funds while in office, the former deputy treasurer for the City of Compton was arrested and faces federal embezzlement charges. Although the former treasury official reportedly claimed he stole the money out of desperation for his family, his colleagues told investigators that the deputy treasurer was continuously purchasing property, luxury cars, and other lavish items that he could not afford on his salary.

Working in the Compton’s treasurer office since 1994, Salvador Galvan eventually rose to the position of deputy treasurer when he allegedly stole $3,721,924 in city funds from May 2010 through December 2016. According to the criminal complaint filed against Galvan, an audit of the city’s cash deposits “identified discrepancies which vary from approximately $200 to $8,000 per day.”

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

Noticing Galvan living well beyond his $60,000 a year salary, a colleague confronted him before reporting the deputy treasurer to law enforcement. According to investigators, Galvin told his supervisor “something to the effect [of], ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures’ and that he had to be a man, so he took the money to save his son’s house because he did not want his grandson out in the street.”

But according to his purchases, Galvan bought at least four 72-inch flat-screen TVs for his own house, a residence in La Mirada, and a relative’s tuition at a makeup academy. On an annual salary of $60,000, Galvan also went from driving an old Toyota to increasingly luxurious vehicles, including an Audi.

In December, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department placed Galvan under arrest after City Treasurer Doug Sanders confirmed “suspicious activity” by one of his employees. On Wednesday, Galvan was arrested on federal charges related to the embezzlement of more than $3.7 million in city funds.

“Defendant Galvan violated the trust of the public he served by stealing money designated for the betterment of the Compton community,” stated Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “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.”

In a recent statement from Compton Mayor Aja Brown, the mayor wrote, “Let me be clear. Any City official or employee 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.

“The alleged embezzlement and theft of public funds is an egregious affront to the hard-working residents of Compton as well as to our dedicated employees. The action of one person does not represent our committed City employees who – like you – are just as disappointed.”

If convicted of the embezzlement charge, Galvan could face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.


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Andrew Emett is a staff writer for NationofChange. Andrew is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. His interests include national security, corporate abuse, and holding government officials accountable. Andrew’s work has appeared on Raw Story, Alternet, and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewEmett and on Facebook at Andrew Emett.