Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

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Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement
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Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that a felony complaint will be filed tomorrow against Retired Santa Barbara County Deputy Probation Officer, Manuel Edward Torres, 64, of Santa Maria, California.  Mr. Torres will be charged in a 15 count felony complaint with Misappropriation of Public Funds in violation of Penal Code section 424, Grand Theft of monies from the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association, in violation of Penal Code section 487(a), Forgery in violation of Penal Code section 470(d), and False Personation in violation of Penal Code section 529(a)(3), all alleged to have occurred between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2019.

Mr. Torres will also be charged with 3 counts of Failure to File an Income Tax Return in violation of Revenue and Taxation Code section 19706 for tax years 2009-2011, and 8 counts of Filing a False Income Tax Return in violation of Revenue and Taxation Code section 19706 for tax years 2012-2019.  Additionally, the Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement, pursuant to Penal Code section 186.11, will be alleged, stating that the alleged felony conduct in this case amounted to a taking of more than $500,000.

Mr. Torres was arrested on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in Santa Maria, California, on a $500,000 arrest warrant, and will be arraigned tomorrow, July 31, 2020, in Department 8 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court in Santa Barbara, Figueroa Division.  

Manuel Torres (Booking Photo: Sheriff's Office)
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a-1596151763 Jul 30, 2020 04:29 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

Unclear from this press release what his status as a retired probation officer has to do with the crime he alleged to have committed. It would be nice to know more.

m-cubed Jul 30, 2020 05:16 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

One can infer.. "Misappropriation of Public Funds in violation of Penal Code section 424, Grand Theft of monies from the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association" .. His position within the probation department gave him access to the funds he misapproprated and embezzled.

a-1596179400 Jul 31, 2020 12:10 AM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

There are other free news sources in town that give more info, or make clear that it was his Probation Officer's labor union that he embezzled from. https://www.noozhawk.com/articles/retired_deputy_probation_officer_arrested_for_alleged_embezzlement_20200730 ////////////////////////////////////////// https://www.independent.com/2020/07/30/former-probation-supervisor-accused-massive-embezzlement-scheme/

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:21 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#1
I worked at Probation 17 years. I was there. I know what happened. The people who work(ed) at Probation know what really happened. This story has been buried for 6 years. Let's see if we can get the truth out. I exposed Torres as a thief in 2014 while addressing the Probation Peace Officer Association (PPOA). It was in the upstairs conference room at the downtown SB Probation Office. Mgt was there too.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:22 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#2
Probation employees will come to this site to learn if the truth will get out. The story that appeared today in the SB Independent is fiction. Chief Tanja Heitman is not the savior in this story. I expect Heitman will have to resign soon. Torres quit a few months ago, probably in an attempt to protect his pension, when he knew the walls were closing in.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:25 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#3
I demanded a PPOA meeting in 2014 because I suspected Torres was embezzling funds. It was clear as day but PPOA members chose to ignore the truth because Torres was/is very charismatic AND he got deputy probation officers 5% annual raises. Nobody wanted to "rock the boat." I rocked the boat and I was fired. However, those who have been following this story know that I appealed my wrongful termination and the Superior Court and Appellate Court ruled in my favor. Still, Probation is refusing to allow me to return to work. The County of SB is spending a fortune in an attempt to continue the cover up.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:28 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#4
Let's establish a timeline. In 2005 I asked the Civil Service Commission to intervene when Probation demanded that I pay the cost of my hotel. I objected as I had been ordered to attend the work related training. However, Probation did not appreciate that I involved the Commission in Probation business, so they forcibly transferred me to a desk assignment where I remained for 10 years. Also, I was repeatedly refused promotion. Why? Because I dared to speak up in the face of injustice.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:32 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#5
The Commission ruled in my favor. I did not have to pay for the hotel. However, my stand, on principle, destroyed my career. I had been a high-risk field officer assigned to supervise gang offenders. Next thing I new I was a typist, for 10 years. In that time I was described in my employee performance review as, "...the best line staff in the unit." This was, by the way, the most difficult assignment in the Department according to leadership. Nobody served in that assignment longer than me. I was not allowed to transfer. I requested a meeting with a prior Chief and asked what I had to do to get my career back and she responded, "You have to prove yourself." Really, I was a first-aid CPR instructor, I represented the Dept in court hundreds of time, I fought for victims and helped offenders who were willing to improve their station in life. After a decade I knew there was no hope of promoting or being transferred to another assignment.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:35 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#6
I had been a PPOA member for 17 years so I asked the PPOA President, Ed Torres, for legal representation. Torres refused. This seemed odd. Why would Torres refuse. Not only Torres, the entire PPOA Board refused to help. Shame on these people. Being on the PPOA Board apparently had its perks. If you were on the Board you got the best assignments and of course you were promoted. All that was required is you protect Probation leadership.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:39 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#7
The people who refused to help me are now managers and I believe one is a Deputy Chief. Again I say shame on you....When Torres refused to help I called a PPOA attorney and learned that Torres had fired their law firm. Seemed odd to me. Why would Torres do that I wondered. At that time a Fire Dept. official and Santa Barbara PD employee had both been convicted of embezzling dues. Bernie Madoff may have been in the news too around that time. I was in the criminal justice profession and I often saw how money could tempt people of questionable character.

a-1596170446 Jul 30, 2020 09:40 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

Manuel Torres TOTAL: $175,282.97
DEP PROBATION OFFICER SUP (2018) Santa Barbara County
Regular pay: $101,455.63
Overtime pay: $0.00
Other pay: $2,218.59
Total pay: $103,674.22
Benefits: $71,608.75
Total pay & benefits: $175,282.97 (Source: Transparent California)

a-1596233058 Jul 31, 2020 03:04 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

The one good reason to pay government employees way more than private sector employees is the hope they will not cheat us of our tax dollars, and not use their access to the great powers of government against us. It worked better when the initial pay was low, but the bonus was a great retirement which was intended to insure no government employee would risk losing their nice pensions being crooked on the job. Time we rethink our relationship with government employees and their unions, who managed to get both - great pay, great pensions, plus bullet proof job protections where no matter what they do, they can't be fired. It was not supposed to work this way. Unionizing government employees back in the 1960's turned this former and noble "civil servant" employee formula upside down.

a-1596244914 Jul 31, 2020 06:21 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

3:04 pm. He is not alleged to have taken any public money. It appears this was fraud against the members of his union. Please hold your horses for a beat and avoid looking the fool.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:42 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#8.
I demanded that Torres call a PPOA meeting and I politely requested that Torres provide me and other PPOA members with a financial accounting of where our dues were being spent. Torres failed to provide an accounting. I stood before a room of PPOA members and said that we have a problem. I announced my candidacy and said I would audit the PPOA if elected and one other thing. I promised that PPOA members would have a voice in the selection of the next Chief Probation Officer. The Chief at that time had recently announced her retirement and I thought that probation officers should have a voice in who we wanted to lead us.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:46 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

There was an election. Ballots were passed out and then placed in an unsealed envelope hanging on a door in the Probation Department. There was no vote security. Guess who counted the votes? You guessed it...Ed Torres. Torres and his minions on the Board were all re-elected and not audit of the PPOA ever occurred. Probation management and PPOA members and PPOA Board members were alerted to Torres' embezzlement 6 years ago. You allowed him to steal from the PPOA for more than 5 more years! Now a story comes out which suggests that Chief Tanja Heitman is the savior. You must be kidding! More on Heitman later....much more.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:52 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#10
So I never got legal counsel. However, I did file a retaliation claim against the Dept and argued my case before the Civil Service Commission in 2014. The attorney I hired backed out a week prior so I represented myself. That was a big mistake. I had no idea how corrupt Probation officials past and present really were until that hearing in 2014. The Hearing officer told me in private that Probation leadership are known in the county to be "a den of snakes." That comment is an insult to snakes. Probation leadership will do or say anything. They were no different than Ed Torres in that regard because they never let honesty get in the way of their false narrative. Probation leadership intimated to the Commission that I was worse than Charles Manson. Of course they had nothing in writing to support any of their claims. All I was asking for was to be transferred. God forbid that happen. I had lots of discovery but County Counsel objected to my every attempt to present evidence and I was steam rolled. I realized after that hearing I was on my own. I was fired just a few months later.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 09:56 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#11
Why was I fired? I had been injured on the job and I needed a little extra time to complete a report. That was all the Department wanted, an excuse. Management came to my office to interrogate me. How dare I ask for more time! I was facing discipline. In fact, I was verbally threatened with termination and given a written letter threatening termination. So I invoked my peace officer bill of my rights. Those rights allow me to record an interaction when I am facing discipline. Management refused my peace officer rights and said I was being suspended immediately and told me to grab my things as they were escorting me out of the building. When they told me I was to be suspended I told them that I was entitled to my rights and would begin recording. I told them that I was recording. Nothing secretive.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 10:12 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#15
To those of you reading this story what I am saying is do not for one minute believe that Ed Torres was found out in 2019. He was exposed in 2014 and continued working as a supervising DPO for another 5 years. Think of all the cases that bear his signature that will now have to be reviewed and dismissed. Think of all the lawsuits the County will face and it is YOU, the taxpayer who will pay.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 10:19 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

#16
This all happened with Tanja Heitman right there. She allows her Deputy Chief to remain employed despite the fact that every report that bears the signature of this Deputy Chief to be called into question. Heitman allows offices to exercise terrible judgement and still they remain employed. What will that cost you, the taxpayer? Millions and millions I expect. Heitman and the County refuse to return me to work even though the Court found that I was not insubordinate and I was entitled to my peace officer rights. Who will stand up for justice? Who will clean up the Probation Department? These people have badges and can arrest people. You cannot allow dishonest people to have such power. I have been sharing this message for years and nothing changes. The County has no incentive to do what is right because there are no consequences. The consequences all fall on you, the taxpayer.

a-1596173636 Jul 30, 2020 10:33 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

Any public employee can opt out of paying union dues - visit Freedom Foundation "OptOutToday" and let them help you fill out the forms. Start paying yourself that money instead of the unions. Particularly now because there is no money in the budget for you to get your hands on anyway. Until the US Supreme Court ruled a few years ago, all government employees were forced to join the unions. Now forced membership is illegal. Don't let them con you into thinking otherwise. Opt out now - and take that $1000 or so in annual union dues and keep it for yourself.

Law Abiding Citizen Jul 30, 2020 10:59 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

I conclusion:
I am still appealing my case & paying out of my own pocket. County Counsel still wants me to be disciplined. Let's see. I was fired. My reputation destroyed. My finances destroyed. I lost all my friends at work. I cannot obtain (other) professional employment given this stain on record. Thank goodness I am working now even though Covid might ultimately mean bad news given my current profession. Despite all I have suffered the County Counsel attorney assigned to my case still wants me to be disciplined. Shame on you sir. Shame. County Counsel should be disciplined for not alerting the Civil Service Commission to the fact that a current Deputy Chief misled them in 2016 during my appeal. You see, the County response is often to "circle the wagon." County Counsel attorneys don't know me. I am just a defendant to them. However, they do know Heitman and the unnamed Deputy Chief who is loose with the truth. These people have relationships as they meet regularly. They attend meetings together. They don't meet with me unless it's to slander me as if I committed a crime. I exposed a crime. I did not commit a crime. I hope others are upset as me. I have suffered for more than five years. The emotional toll on me and my wife has been unbearable at times. If it can happen to me it can happen to you. I learned that when a person is fired their colleagues want nothing to do with them. They fear the stain of association will impede their career. I understand. They have to do what's best for themselves. I found that I confused work colleagues for friends who would stand with me. I was wrong. I stood alone. Only one person stood with me. Thank you. You know who you are. I appreciate you. I know lots of Probation officers will read this post. Many of you have never met me. You probably just heard stories. The truth is that I will cut off my nose to spite my face. I will stand for justice even if it means I am fired. I know exactly who I am. I am a good person who cared about the people I worked with. I cared about the victims I did my best to help. I hope you know I fought for you when the court and the "system" treated you like you were a nuisance. I knew it was important to return calls and treat people with respect and dignity. I knew that lots of people would have been happy to replace me because I was paid well and I could have earned a generous pension had I not been wrongfully terminated. I recall about 400 others were in line with me when I applied to be a JIO in 1997. I remember working the graveyard shift in the juvenile hall for 2 years before I became a DPO. I had perfect attendance two years in a row before I was fired. None of that matters when you dare to have an opinion that goes against the Department narrative. There are many good people working at the Probation Department. Smart people. Kind people. Decent people. I appreciate them. I am taking a big risk by writing this publicly. I am writing because this is the first real chance I have had to share the real story. The media has never once responded to me. Mona Miyasota has not helped me. Who will help? Thank goodness I have an awesome attorney. Without him I would be lost. The government machine would continue to grind me down and my voice would never be heard. I hope that the Civil Service Commission sees this injustice for what it is and intervenes. If not, I will be back to court yet again. I don't know where the money will come from to pay my attorney as he has been more than patient with me. Thank you very much for your patience SM. In the end I may end up back in court, hopefully before a jury so people like you and me can get a glimpse behind the curtain and see what really goes on in government. What goes on is bureaucracy. You get shuffled around and told to come back next month and next thing you know it has been 5 years since you were fired. Those who lied will retire with very generous pensions and of course, you will pay. Me...I will keep fighting. I have no other choice. Would I like to get credit for exposing Torres? Yes, I would. Would I like credit for exposing the current leadership? I don't care anymore. They know who they are. They have to live with themselves. In they end their punishment is they see themselves when they look in the mirror. How sad they must feel knowing they are dishonest and unethical. I forgive you.
Me

SBgal74 Jul 31, 2020 08:04 AM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

That’s quite an epic story. Sounds like a narrative a true investigative journalist would salivate over. I can’t believe no one has taken you up the proper sharing of this story. Maybe you need to cast a wider net (LA Times) Now that this criminal has been arrested there may be more interest in exposing his accomplices. Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer...I do hope you get some satisfaction at some point!

a-1596219491 Jul 31, 2020 11:18 AM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

Most local media endorses the same people the public employee unions endorse. There you have it. Of course there will be no independent investigative journalism in this town coming from the progressive media.

a-1596179233 Jul 31, 2020 12:07 AM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

Whew. Thanks for the story. Wish you'd been less naive back when, and had a good whistle-blower's attorney. I know how useless my SEIU branch was. I fought for a while, quite County after 5 years. Good luck, good health, good life to you.

vvorker Jul 31, 2020 07:35 AM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

I was at Santa Cruz Market about 10 years ago when they cashed 3rd party checks, And guess who I got in line behind, a Probation officer on duty with official jacket on. He handed the cashier about 5 personal checks to cash, and the cashier handed back over $500. I was like WTF? Bribe money? They all are sleazy easy money people. Good to start the hunt now. PS Lets end the Prison Industrial Complex.

a-1596232306 Jul 31, 2020 02:51 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

About 20 of the comments were from one former county probation employee who was fired. S/he claimed one reason for the firing is s/he reported this embezzlement many years ago.

a-1596235447 Jul 31, 2020 03:44 PM
Retired Probation Officer Charged with Embezzlement

@2:51 yes, but they named specific people not in the article and accused them of other illegal actions which we don't know if that's true or not, but either way edhat could get sued for their claims.

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