An arraignment hearing in Santa Barbara County Superior Court for a retired probation officer accused of embezzlement and other charges while leading the union has been continued to Monday.
Manuel Edward “Ed” Torres, 64, of Santa Maria faces 15 felony charges in a criminal complaint filed Friday.
He is accused of diverting $635,254 from the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association into a personal bank account during 10 years of leading the organization.
Charges include misappropriation of public funds, grand theft of monies from the peace officers association, forgery and false personation, all alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1, 2009 and June 30, 2019.
Torres, who retired in July 2019, also has been charged with three counts of failure to file an income tax return for tax years 2009 to 2011 and eight counts of filing a false income tax return for 2012 to 2019.
Additionally, the criminal complaint included a sentencing enhancement for aggravated white-collar crime, stating that the alleged felony conduct involved taking more than $500,000.
During a brief appearance Friday, Torres did not enter a plea, and the arraignment hearing was continued until Monday.
In addition to his arraignment on the charges, Monday’s hearing in Santa Maria Superior Court is expected to include a request to reduce the $500,000 bail amount or to even release Torres on his own recognizance.
Torres was taken into custody Wednesday and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail. He remained in custody on Friday afternoon.
Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota is leading the prosecution. Torres will be represented by Michael Scott.
Torres has served as a basketball coach in the Santa Maria Valley, including for St. Joseph High School and then Orcutt Academy High School. In the early 1990s, he coached at Allan Hancock College.
— Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.