Ex-Probation Officer Embezzles Over $500,000 from Union

Retired Probation Officer Facing 15 Felonies

ex-probation officer Manuel Torres arrested
Manuel Edward Torres

Manual Edward Torres, 64, is being accused of embezzling over $500,000 from the Probation Peace Officers Association of Santa Barbara County. The misappropriation of funds happened over a 10-year period, 2009 – 2019. According to the Santa Maria Times,

“Charges include misappropriation of public funds, grand theft of monies from the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association, forgery and false personation, which are alleged to have occurred between Jan. 1, 2009 and June 30, 2019.

Additionally, Torres will face three counts of failure to file an income tax return for years 2009 to 2011 and eight counts of filing a false income tax return for years 2012 to 2019, according to Dudley.

Torres also faces an aggravated white collar crime enhancement because the alleged crimes involved taking more than $500,000.”

You can see the official press release from the District Attorney of Santa Barbara County here.


Manuel Torres was arrested on Wednesday for the above crimes. None of the articles I’ve read on this story mention what Mr. Torres’ role was with the union that allowed him access to those funds. They also don’t say how he was able to get away with it for so long and how he was finally caught. Mr. Torres’ bail has been set at $500,000.

One thought on “Ex-Probation Officer Embezzles Over $500,000 from Union

  1. Fired Peace Officer

    Ed Torres was exposed as an embezzler in 2014. I know because I exposed him before a packed room of Probation Peace Officer Association (PPOA) members. Probation leadership and the PPOA/union board both looked the other way and allowed Torres to work as a supervisor 5 more years and continue stealing until Torres quit abruptly in 2019 when the walls were closing in. Chief Heitman is not the savior. I allege she knew of this scandal in 2014 as it was all the talk then. Torres helped get Chief Lupe Rabago fired and Heitman benefited from Rabago’s departure.
    The Department is currently in open revolt. Believe me! Every case bearing the signature of Torres will need to be re-litigated. Some violent offenders may be released. The County will pay millions because Torres is a criminal and because leadership allowed a criminal to keep his badge. Shameful. Also, shame on all you 2014 Board members. You should resign in shame because you are unworthy to wear the badge. Your co-workers should shun you and call you out for allowing their union to be gutted by Torres while you enjoyed the perks of being on the board and doing the bidding of Department leadership. SC and DR especially. How you can sleep at night I cannot imagine.
    The big story not being reported is that several powerful gov’t officials are acting unethically and some are even “allegedly” guilty of perjury. This has been reported numerous times to local media but never has there been any interest. Are there any journalists left?
    I was fired soon after I exposed Torres and campaigned for PPOA members to have a voice in the selection of the next Chief. Guess who did not have the support of the Department? Figure it out…..
    My termination was overturned and still the County spends tens of thousands of dollars of tax money to continue delaying my return. County leaders do not care because it is your (tax) money they are spending while these same county employees earn huge salaries and grand pensions you cannot not even imagine. You will pay for these pensions for the life of these people! Probation leadership even asked the DA to file a felony charge against me in 2014 after I invoked my peace officer bill of rights. They wanted me to go to prison but Torres has been released from jail. Talk about irony. Funny how I exposed Torres in 2014 and the Probation Chief failed to mention Torres to the DA (until 2019). I guess since I was fighting for PPOA members to have a voice in the selection of the next Chief it was more beneficial to fire me and protect Ed Torres because Torres could do your dirty work.
    There is an open revolt in the Probation Department right now. Believe me. Lots of people have reached out to me. Lawsuits are being considered and morale is at an all-time low. The fish rots from the head down. County officials protect their own instead of seeking the truth. Just because a person works for the government does not mean they are honest. I was a peace officer for nearly two decades and I can attest that dishonest people walk among us and most of us are completely unaware of their dishonesty. Many of us are angry and we are not going to let this corruption continue. The community and SB taxpayers deserve much better. To the PPOA members who are angry I tell you to speak up. Do not rely on me. I have been in this fight for 5 years. Where were you? YOU need to rise up and make your voices heard. Evil lives in the shadows. Shine a light on this corruption and dishonesty and the rats will have to run for cover. Truth will prevail in the end. There is more to life than a career at Probation. If not you then who?

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