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Retired SB County probation officer charged for embezzling pleads not guilty

Manuel Edward Torres
Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
Manuel Edward Torres, 64, of Santa Maria

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The retired Santa Barbara County probation officer accused of embezzling more than half a million dollars from the probation officer union has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Manuel Torres, 64, appeared in a Santa Maria superior court on Monday for his arraignment. Torres pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including grand theft of monies, misappropriation of public funds, forgery and false impersonation.

Torres was arrested on July 29. He is accused of stealing more than $600,000 from the Santa Barbara County Probation Peace Officers Association for more than 10 years while leading the union.

His bail was originally set at $500,000 but he was released on his own recognizance, despite opposition from the district attorney's office that argued Torres was a risk to the public, including current members of the union's board.

Torres has been ordered to relinquish any firearms, report to San Luis Obispo County probation on a regular basis, and stay away from the Santa Barbara County probation department and its staff.

Alameda County Probation handled the Pretrial Release Report due to the nature of the accusations and possible conflict of interest with Santa Barbara County Probation.

Torres is due back in court on Sept. 11.

Article Topic Follows: Crime & Courts

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