ROSWELL, Ga. – A former marshal in Roswell’s City Court pleaded guilty March 11 to taking $160,000 in traffic fines.
According to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, Gregorio Eduardo “Eddie” Barrera, 42,stole the money over a two-year period, from January 2007 to February 2009. As part of his duties as a marshal, Barrera was responsible for transporting money collected for traffic citation fines from the Roswell jail to the Roswell courthouse. Instead, Barrera diverted the money to his own use, pocketing a total of $160,398.54.
The scheme was discovered in early 2009, while Barrera was on administrative leave for another issue. During his leave, an individual approached Roswell authorities claiming they had been falsely arrested for a traffic citation they had already paid. After the person produced a written receipt as proof of payment for the fine, Roswell authorities initiated an investigation. An audit revealed Barrera was stealing fines and manipulating the computer system to make it appear as if the fines were never paid. The investigation revealed Barrera deposited nearly $112, 000.00 in cash into his bank account and purchased a number of expensive items during the period in question. According to his attorney, Barrera used the money to finance an affair he was having at the time.
Barrera could have faced five years in prison followed by five years on probation with full restitution in the amount of $160,000. However, citing his extreme health issues and his compromised ability to earn an income beyond his Social Security benefits, he was sentenced to 20 years on intensive probation as part of a non-negotiated plea agreement. Barrera must serve the first three years of his probation on house arrest, wear an ankle monitor and be subject to a 24-hour curfew. He was also ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution - the amount representing the City of Roswell’s insurance policy deductible.