Former St. Charles deputy pleads guilty to forging seatbelt tickets
From staff and wire reports - Aug 22, 2013
A former St. Charles Parish deputy will serve a year in jail after pleading guilty to forging seat belt tickets.
William Marciante was arrested in 2011 on various charges related to forged seat belt citations he allegedly issued while he was working grant-funded overtime.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the situation came to light when a resident received a letter stating that she had a bench warrant for failure to appear in court to pay a traffic citation. The resident told police that she had never been stopped for a seat belt violation.
During an investigation, detectives say they discovered that between February and May 2011, a total of 21 citations were issued by Marciante for seat belt violations in the names of unsuspecting individuals who were never stopped for the violations. In each instance, Marciante worked overtime made possible through grant funds from the Louisiana Highway Safety Administration to promote seat belt safety and enforcement.
Champagne said that evidence discovered during a search warrant of Marciante’s patrol vehicle and from reviewing his computer and dash camera video activity shows that traffic stops for the 21 victims did not take place, and in some instances, Marciante did not work during the times he issued the citations and submitted overtime.
Police say that handwriting analysis confirmed that Marciante actually forged the victim’s signatures on several of the tickets.
St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said Marciante’s abuse of his position reflected badly on the Sheriff’s Office.
“To say I am disgusted is an understatement,” Champagne said. “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. We have checks and balances in place. Once we discovered discrepancies, we immediately investigated and took swift actions. Marciante’s arrest should serve as an example to anyone who chooses to victimize the very people we take an oath to protect.”
Marciante was sentenced to serve five years in prison, but four of those years were suspended. He was also placed on probation for five years.
Champagne applauded Marciante’s conviction.
“I would like to thank Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office for their assistance and diligent prosecution,” Champagne 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.”
Marciante pled guilty to five counts of forgery, five counts of malfeasance in office, five counts of injuring public records and six counts of payroll fraud.
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