John Chase, Deputy District Attorney
Public Integrity Unit
For release on October 25, 2012
FORMER GILROY CITY COUNCIL MEMBER CRAIG GARTMAN CONVICTED OF THEFT OF GILROY MEMORIAL DAY PARADE COMMITTEE FUNDS
Yesterday, 53-year-old Craig Gartman, a former Gilroy city council member, entered a no-contest plea and was convicted of one count of misdemeanor grand theft. The felony grand theft charge was reduced to a misdemeanor when Gartman produced in court a $6,200 cashier’s check made payable to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (“VFW”) post in Gilroy. This represented the balance of what Gartman owed in restitution after embezzling from the Gilroy Memorial Day Parade Committee between 2002 and 2008. Gartman made his first restitution payment of $2,500 to the VFW in November 2010 before he was charged in this case. Because the parade committee headed by Gartman disbanded in 2008, it was agreed that payment to a nonprofit organization with similar charitable purposes, such as the VFW, would be an appropriate means of making restitution in this case.
As head of the privately run Memorial Day Parade Committee from 2002 to 2008, Gartman solicited donations from local businesses each Spring, telling donors that the money would be used to finance Gilroy’s Memorial Day festivities. Although the majority of these donated funds were used for this charitable purpose, including reimbursement of committee members’ personal expenditures in support of the event, the investigation revealed that Gartman took $8,682.32 from the Memorial Day Parade Committee bank account for his own personal benefit without justification.
Gartman was sentenced immediately upon his conviction. He was placed on two years of court probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.