Chelsea Gaudin / Eyewitness News
HAHNVILLE, La. - A St. Charles Parish deputy was arrested and fired on Wednesday for falsifying seatbelt citations in 21 separate instances, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office.
In late August a resident responded to a letter that notified her she failed to appear in court or pay a traffic citation for a seatbelt violation. She reported she had never been stopped for a violation or received a citation and the sheriff's office initiated an investigation.
Investigators discovered that Deputy William S. Marciante, Jr. issued 21 citations between February and May 2011 to unsuspecting individuals that were never stopped.
He issued all while working on overtime with his payment made possible through grant funds from the Louisiana Highway Safety Administration for seatbelt and safety enforcement.
'Marciante's arrest should serve as an example to anyone who chooses to victimize the very people we take an oath to protect,' Sheriff Greg Champagne said.
After reviewing Marciante's computer and dash camera, it was discovered that the traffic stops did not take place, and in some instances, he was not even working at the time.
Handwriting analysis confirmed that he forged at least 12 of the victims' signatures, according to the sheriff's office.
'To say I am disgusted is an understatement,' said Champagne. 'It is mind-boggling to understand how someone would be so irresponsible and think it would not eventually be detected.'
Marciante was arrested on 21 counts of forgery, 21 counts of injuring public record, 27 counts of malfeasance in office, and 6 counts of public payroll fraud. He is in jail on a $50,000 bond and was fired after working at the sheriff's office for five years.