Former St. Charles Sheriff's Deputy pleads guilty to writing fake seat belt tickets

New Orleans, La. - A former St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Deputy has pleaded guilty to writing fake seat belt tickets while working grant-funded overtime. William S. Marciante pled guilty Tuesday afternoon to five counts of forgery, five counts of malfeasance in office, five counts of injuring public record and six counts of payroll fraud.

According to police, detectives learned that between February 2011 and May 2011, Marciante issued 21 seat belt violations in the names of unsuspecting individuals who were never stopped for that violation. In addition, Marciante also issued the false violations while on overtime, made possible through grant funds from the Louisiana Highway Safety Administration to promote seat belt safety and enforcement.

Detectives obtained a search warrant and went through Marciante's patrol vehicle, dash camera and computer, discovering that the traffic stops that Marciante documented, did not take place. They also discovered that Marciante did not work the times that he issued the citations and when he submitted overtime.

"I would like to thank Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office for their assistance and diligent prosecution", said Sheriff Greg Champagne. "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," Champagne added.

Marciante has been sentenced to five years in prison, four years suspended and five years on active probation upon his release from prison.

"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. 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," Champagne added.