A former Fulton County marshal accused of stealing thousands of dollars in Roswell traffic fines to fund his affair pleaded guilty to the crime.
Gregorio Eduardo "Eddie" Barrera pleaded guilty to one count of theft by taking by government employee and violation of oath of office by public officer, the Fulton County District Attorney's office said on Wednesday
Barrera was a marshal assigned to the Roswell Municipal Court and was responsible for transferring the money collected from traffic citations from the city's jail to the city's courthouse. However, Barrera pocketed a total of $160,398.54 between January 2008 and February 2009.
Barrera's actions came to light in early 2009 while he was on administrative leave for a separate issue. A citizen approached authorities in Roswell, and claimed they had been arrested for a traffic citation they'd already paid.
As proof for payment of the fine, the person produced a written receipt and Roswell authorities then began their investigation into the allegation.
An audit conducted by the city discovered Barrera stole fines and was able to manipulate the computer system to appear that fines had never been paid. The investigation also uncovered Barrera deposited almost $112,000 in cash in his bank account and "purchased a number of expensive items during the period in question," the DA's office said.
Barrera's attorney confirmed his client used the money to "finance an affair he was having at the time."
The state initially recommended five years in prison and five years probation for Barrera's crimes. However, due to his "extreme health issues and his compromised ability to earn an income beyond his social security benefits," Barrera was sentenced to 20 years on "intensive probation" as part of the plea agreement, the office said.
The defendant has to serve the first three years on house arrest, wear an ankle monitor and will be subject to a 24-hour curfew. He was also ordered to pay $25,000.00 in restitution -- the amount representing Roswell’s insurance policy deductible.