Mark Lombard, who served as chief death investigator under St. Tammany Parish’s disgraced former coroner, Peter Galvan, pleaded not guilty Monday in 22nd Judicial District Court to two counts of being a principal to felony theft over $1,500.
Lombard and Kim Kelly, who was Galvan’s chief financial officer, were both indicted last month by a St. Tammany grand jury. Kelly has not been arraigned.
The two were jointly charged in one of the counts with aiding and abetting theft by fraud committed by Galvan. That included his use of public money for personal spending on items like fuel and GPS equipment.
Both employees were described, but not named, in federal court documents that charged Galvan in 2013 with conspiracy to steal public funds. The documents described “Individual B” as a person who did work for the Slidell jail under a contract with Galvan’s private medical practice.
That person was Lombard, who was a public employee being paid by the Coroner’s Office while he was providing medical services to the jail under a contract with Galvan’s private medical practice. The contract brought $50,000 to Galvan’s practice, according to the federal bill of information.
But Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell said on the day the two were indicted that Galvan actually got far more from the arrangement: $400,000.
Caldwell also said that Lombard was not medically qualified to administer the services to the jail but did so anyway and got raises “commensurate with that responsibility.”
Kelly, who was identified as “Individual A” in federal documents, was described as helping Galvan receive cash payouts and annual sick leave to which he was not entitled.
Galvan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal public funds in October 2013 and is serving a two-year prison sentence on those federal charges. He also was indicted on state charges, to which he pleaded guilty, and will serve an additional year on those.
If the case against his former employees goes to trial, Galvan might be called to testify, Caldwell said.
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