Amended Complaint: Retired Probation Officer Charged with Sophisticated Fraud | Crime and courts
Manuel “Ed” Torres, 66, who was also a girls’ basketball coach at St. Joseph High School, is charged with 16 counts, including 11 counts of tax evasion, forgery, embezzlement of funds, false identity theft, theft and money laundering, as well as five improvements. The charges relate to a scheme in which he allegedly stole money from the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association over a 10-year period from 2009 to 2019.
In the amended criminal complaint filed by Assistant District Attorney Brian Cota on February 25, a special aggravated white-collar crime enhancement allegation was added due to several factors, including that he allegedly exposed his wife. to criminal prosecution and civil liability by ordering him to sign tax returns over the 10-year period and that he dissuaded a witness when he ‘run over’ a former colleague on August 23, 2020, violating terms of his supervised release.
Other factors include that he allegedly took advantage of his position as president of the association to steal the money and that the stolen funds exceeded $500,000. Torres has yet to argue the new special allegation, according to Cota.
A judge on Monday upheld more than a dozen fraud charges filed against a retired Santa Barbara County probation officer…
Torres was arrested on July 29, 2020, following a year-long investigation into charges that he cut himself multiple checks totaling more than $635,000 from the union’s bank account and deposited them on his own. personal account, according to District Attorney Investigator Chris Clement.
The funds came from association dues, which are deducted from probation officers’ paychecks. Part of the money deducted is intended to finance the legal representation of the members.
Torres pleaded not guilty to all charges on August 3, 2020. The charges were confirmed after a Superior Court judge found probable cause following a preliminary hearing on October 4, 2021.
In addition to the amended complaint, Cota filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on March 14 to restrain Torres from selling his Santa Maria home, an asset that would be used to repay the money in the event of a conviction for embezzlement and an order restitution in the case.
Michael Scott, who represents Torres, said Wednesday he expects a judge to grant the injunction, but the residence is jointly owned by Torres and his wife, who lives in the house with their daughter.
In a response to Cota’s motion filed Tuesday, Scott said the only issue in dispute was whether Torres, who does not live in the house, should be ordered to make monthly mortgage payments and that he expects that Torres’ wife opposes the preliminary injunction. as she is the “innocent spouse” and holds the equity in the property.
A provision of the law used to freeze Torres’ assets states that the court “shall seek to protect the interests of any innocent third party”, including the spouse, who was not involved in the crime.
The motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled to be heard before Judge John Fisher at 8:30 a.m. on March 25 in the Figueroa Division of Superior Court in Santa Barbara.