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FBI investigates allegations of embezzlement against Compton's deputy treasurer, authorities say

The FBI has launched an investigation involving allegations that Compton’s deputy treasurer stole money from the city, authorities said Thursday. 

Salvador Galvan, 47, was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with embezzlement allegations, according to Sgt. Danny Martinez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in Compton.  

“On Wednesday, an employee from the City Treasurer’s Office allegedly admitted to illegally taking money from the city,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown said in a statement released Thursday. “The amount of money and the period of time this activity occurred are unknown at this time, but it is possible that both are extensive.”

Sheriff’s Cmdr. Joe Gooden said the FBI is investigating the case. However, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the agency would not confirm or deny an investigation.

Galvan has worked in the Compton treasurer’s office since 1994, where he was responsible for handling cash, city officials said. As part of his duties, he collected payments from residents paying their water bills, business licenses, building permits and trash bills.

Two days ago, City Treasurer Doug Sanders discovered “suspicious activity” in the ledger, according to City Councilwoman Janna Zurita, which prompted an internal investigation. The next day, Galvan confessed to a colleague that he had been stealing money from the city for years, Zurita said. 

Galvan was taken into custody at 2:49 p.m. and booked just after 7 p.m. at the sheriff’s station in Compton. He was released early Thursday after posting bond.

City Councilman Issac Galvan, who is not related to the suspect, said, “I’m very disappointed that this happened, but I’m glad this guy is being brought to justice.”

Over the years, Compton officials have come under scrutiny for allegations of financial improprieties. 

Former Mayor Omar Bradley was convicted of misappropriation of public funds in 2004 along with former Councilman Amen Rahh and former City Manager John D. Johnson II. Prosecutors said the men had used their city-issued credit cards for personal items and “double dipped” by taking cash advances for city business expenses and then charging the items to their city credit cards. Bradley’s charges were reversed in 2012 by an appeals court.

“Unfortunately, the actions of one employee can challenge the public’s trust that we strive daily to rebuild,” Brown said. “The alleged embezzlement and theft of public funds is an egregious affront to the residents of Compton and our dedicated employees.”

The scale of the alleged misconduct is unknown, Brown added.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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UPDATES:

3:45 p.m.: This article was updated with information about the FBI’s involvement and additional comments from a City Council member. 

9:45 a.m.: This article was updated with comments from a statement by Compton Mayor Aja Brown.

This article was originally published at 6:15 a.m.

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