Retired Santa Barbara County officer arrested for embezzlement

Manuel Edward Torres

Retired Santa Barbara County Deputy Probation Officer Manuel Edward Torres, 63, was arrested in Santa Maria on Wednesday for  allegedly embezzling more than $500,000 from the probation officers union he led for 20 years.

In 2019, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office began investigating allegations that Torres had misappropriated union funds following an argument between Torres and David Shea, the new union president, over financial records. Investigators determined Torres had misappropriated public funds from Jan. 1, 2009 through June 30, 2019.

On Wednesday, Torres was booked in the Santa Barbara County Jail on 15 felony charges, including grand theft, misappropriation of public funds, false personation, forgery, and for filing false tax returns. His bail is set at $500,000.

In addition, Torres was charged with an aggravated white collar crime enhancement, because he allegedly embezzled more than $500,000.