California city finance employee arrested for embezzlement

March 29, 2017

FBI agents arrested the former deputy city treasurer for the City of Compton today for allegedly embezzling  more than $3.7 million of city funds. Salvador Galvan, 47, faces federal charges stemming from allegations that he stole $3,721,924 from May 2010 through December 2016 from programs receiving federal funds.

Galvan, who worked in the Compton Treasurer’s Office for more than 20 years, was responsible for tallying the cash received by the city as payment for parking tickets, business licenses and other fees. After the cash was counted, Galvan prepared the money for deposit into a city bank account.

According to the criminal complaint filed late yesterday in United States District Court, Galvan skimmed cash from the daily receipts on numerous occasions. An audit of the city’s cash deposits “identified discrepancies which vary from approximately $200 to $8,000 per day,” according to the affidavit in support of the complaint.

The FBI interviewed Galvan’s supervisor, who “reflected about Galvan’s time in the office, his unexplained affluence, and his generosity,” according to the affidavit.

The supervisor told investigators that Galvan went from driving an “old Toyota” to increasingly luxurious vehicles, including a black Audi sedan. That affidavit states that Galvan told his supervisor that he purchased a residence in La Mirada and demolished the house so he could rebuild it – all on an annual salary of approximately $60,000.

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

Galvan was arrested late last year by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in relation to the theft of city funds. The federal case that led to Galvan’s arrest this morning resulted from further investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Defendant Galvan violated the trust of the public he served by stealing money designated for the betterment of the Compton community,” said 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.”

Galvan is scheduled to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court. If he is convicted of the embezzlement charge, Galvan would face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.


Speaking on slo i saw a huddle of high schoolers chanting $5m each. Not lol great role models


Based on the facts listed in this article, it appears the only way he was caught was through his excessive greed. Had he been more discriminating with the ways he exhibited the stolen money he could have retired comfortably and never been caught. He was practically begging to be caught. How many other cities deal with cash in this way where those managers have learned to be more taciturn with their largesse? I bet most cities have weaknesses in their cash flow handling.


Mr. Galvan, please send your resume to the SLO County Government building. You’ll feel right at home.


Where was the supervision of this guy? Ummmm, think Wallace group and the San Dist. Where was their/his Supervision? Hiding in plain sight, that where.


From Compton to the country club. Another great government success story.


Like an inner city like Compton does have enough to contented with with the gangs, unemployment, poverty, violence, etc…now this.

Where is the moral compass that SHOULD be in the hands of community leaders.


Why is there no picture of Salvadore? A search of the internet doesn’t seem to find any photo of this guy (that I could find on the internet, today anyway). Or is this him, in a photo of a white guy stuffing cash in his suit pocket? Doesn’t really matter I suppose, just wondering why this particular photo was selected. White collar crime doesn’t get exposed enough and seems that the penalties aren’t as severe as other theft crimes.


Because he is not white.


Come on give this person a break. How do you expect them to survive off a measly $60,000 yearly salary, benefits and a lifetime pension at the same rate. They had to supplement their income. Nothing to see here, go ahead move along.


You forgot about overtime. When I worked for the state, people would put their heads on their desk for eight hrs, then work 2 hrs overtime. Disgusting.

Mitch C

This is incompetence at its highest level. Where was the supervision of this guy. How could a city have an annual $750,000 hole in its budget for six years and no one noticed? If a guy can take approximately $750,000 every year for six years, the city is obviously flush with cash in which case its citizens are being robbed in the form of excess fines and forfeitures.


The city of SLO has had an annual hole of millions of dollars in its budget , because the city manager has refused to come clean about the debts owed to CalPERS. It’s easy to make things look rosy when you only pay the interest on the debt. That interest is now $1 million a month and the principal is going up exponentially as rates of return have fallen. The managers here are no better than the ones in Compton, they just get paid “above the line” so it’s technically not stealing.

Same goes for our school administration – an annual salary of over $200,000 a year for an administrator who then convinces the school board to give him a $950,000 loan, 2% interest, no down payment for a house somewhere because he doesn’t have a down payment and therefore can’t get a loan at a bank. This is a blatant gift of public funds/misappropriation of public funds but no one seems to care…