The former general manager of Santa Barbara County’s Mosquito and Vector Management District pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of misappropriating public funds, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Brian Passaro, 54, resigned from the job in late 2011 after three years, and was accused of using his work credit card for personal expenses.
As manager, he was in the position to approve his own expenses on the card.
The county Auditor-Controller’s Office audited the credit card after potential misuse was reported, and the DA’s Office filed the felony charge against Passaro last August.
Authorities say the investigation revealed that Passaro was using the credit card to pay for expenses such as meals, gas, alcohol, movie theaters and purchases in Disneyland, which were completely unrelated to his work.
DA investigator Norma Hansen found that there was a lack of oversight by the special district’s board, and lack of transparency in items charged to the credit card, and noticed that the district’s total travel expenses increased every year that Passaro was employed.
Expenses went from $2,007 in 2008 to $27,999 in 2010, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Passaro also failed to record 56 hours of vacation that was paid for when he resigned, District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Friday.
“The public deserves to have confidence in their public officials to properly handle the money entrusted to them, and those public servants should and will be held to a high standard,” she said in a statement.
Passaro will be sentenced in September to three years of probation, 160 hours of community work service and 60 days in County Jail. He will not have to serve the jail term if he pays the $10,116 in restitution, Dudley said.