Arroyo Grande man sentenced in embezzlement case

July 5, 2014
Robert Perez

Robert Perez

An Arroyo Grande man was sentenced on Thursday to three years in state prison for stealing $113,000 from the Santa Barbara County Firefighters Union. [Independent]

A 20-year-veteran of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Robert Perez was elected by the union to manage its $1 million-per-year insurance account in 2001. His fellow firefighters and union brothers agreed to pay Perez $400 a month on top of his firefighter’s salary for handling the account and paying expenses.

However, between 2006 and 2013 Perez siphoned money from the account to buy his wife jewelry, pay for her cell phone, to purchase a laptop and assist the couple in trading in their old house in Arroyo Grande for a more expensive home. The union discovered the thefts last August during an audit.

In Perez’ defense, his attorney Steve Balash said that Perez had gotten into a bind after adopting his wife’s special needs children, who they received monthly government checks for. Balash argued that Perez’ years of service to the community, rescue work, and multiple awards were examples of his character.


15 Comments

  1. LAH says:

    For shame for shame! But even worse, Don’t use kids as an excuse for your Bad behavior! They didn’t benefit from all the jewelry you bought. You are not to be trusted, plain and simple. No previous good deeds make up for his choosing to steal. Those kids need a more stable environment!

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  2. kayaknut says:

    Another case of “we must pay the highest salaries to get the best people”. If this is the best why don’t we try lower salaries and see what type of people we get, they can’t be any worse than what we have now.

    And let’s guess his pension is protected….. thank you public employee unions…

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  3. NorthCountyGuy says:

    No mention of how the public-sector unions are comprised of thumb-sucking crybabies; And, no mention of how the public-sector unions are embezzling public funds from the taxpayers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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