Former St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan finished his federal prison term on Wednesday and headed to a Louisiana-run facility to finish out a separate but concurrent three-year term for a state theft charge, perhaps as early as May.
Galvan had been housed at a low-security federal prison in Oakdale, finishing up his two-year federal sentence for conspiracy to steal public funds, to which he pleaded guilty in October 2013.
He is now at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, where he will likely remain for several weeks as he undergoes a battery of evaluations before state corrections officials decide where to keep him until he is released. That could come as early as May, according to Pam Laborde, of the Louisiana Department of Corrections.
Galvan’s post-prison plans are unclear. He testified during a deposition in October that he had voluntarily surrendered his medical license and didn’t know whether he would be able to get it back.
In 2013, Galvan went from being a popular elected official who persuaded voters to approve a tax that would allow him to build a state-of-the-art facility in Lacombe to a defendant, at one point hiding out in the courthouse for hours, trying to avoid reporters clustered outside.
During that year, Galvan was rocked by numerous media reports describing his lavish spending of Coroner’s Office funds. He was accused of using tax dollars to buy accessories for his personal boat and plane, as well as expensive dinners and other items. He also took cash payouts for vacation time that he was not entitled to and raised his salary to more than $200,000.
In October of that year, he pleaded guilty in federal court to a single count of conspiring to steal public funds. Days later, he resigned from office.
In connection with his federal guilty plea, Galvan was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $193,388. For the state charges, he was ordered to pay $350,000 in restitution to Slidell. The latter sum has been paid, Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan said.
St. Tammany Parish also is trying to recover money from Galvan that he spent on lawyers during his legal troubles. Ronnie Simpson, a spokesman for parish President Pat Brister, said efforts to recoup that money are ongoing.
Staff writer Sara Pagones contributed to this report.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.