ST. CHARLES PARISH, La. -- A former deputy pleaded guilty to charges related to forging seat belt citations while working grant funded overtime, according to St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office.
William Marciante pleaded guilty to five counts of forgery, five counts of malfeasance in office, five counts of injuring public records and six counts of payroll fraud, the sheriff's office said. He was sentenced to five years in prison, four years suspended and five years of probation when he is released from prison.
Marciante was fired from the sheriff's office after his arrest Tuesday, the sheriff's office said.
“My office initiated the investigation after complaints were filed by unsuspecting motorist surprised to learn of attachments in their name for failure to pay fines. Marciante’s actions were a disgrace to his co-workers, the badge and the public he swore to protect,” Sheriff Greg Champagne said.
In 2011, from February through May, Marciante wrote 21 citations for seat belt violations, according to investigators, for people who had never been stopped. The overtime he was on when wrote the citations was funded by grant funds from the Louisiana Highway Safety Administration to promote seat belt safety and enforcement.
Investigators found evidence discovered during a search of Marciante’s patrol vehicle and from reviewing his computer and dash camera video activity showing the traffic stops for the 21 citations did not take place, the sheriff's office said. In several cases, Marciante wasn't at work during the times he issued the citations and put in for overtime.
“To say I am disgusted is an understatement,” said Sheriff Champagne. “Our job in law enforcement is already difficult enough. Because of Marciante’s actions, that job of maintaining the public trust has gotten a little harder. It is mind-boggling to understand how someone would be so irresponsible and think it would not eventually be detected."