Five former elected officials were convicted, but former Councilman Luis Artiga was cleared entirely.
Artiga owns a home in the 11700 block of Craw Avenue in Chino. No one went into or out of the house Wednesday afternoon.
The Chino neighborhood was virtually silent Wednesday, minus the occasional dogs barking and sounds of airplanes.
Artiga wept Wednesday as the clerk read the not guilty verdicts against him, and he thanked members of the community who believed in his innocence.
"I feel righteous and I also feel nothing in my heart against the people that yell at me. I love `em," he said.
Artiga was charged with 13 felony counts of misappropriation of public funds between June 1, 2008 and July 26, 2010 and was accused of taking just over $129,000.
An audit by the state controller's office previously found the city had illegally raised property taxes, business license fees and other sources of revenue to pay the salaries. The office ordered the money repaid.
He was released Wednesday at Clara Shortridge Fortz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles.
The other five Bell officials were found guilty and not guilty on multiple counts.
The guilty findings were related to the appointment of the defendants to the Solid Waste and Recycling Authority. The board was one of several that prosecutors said council members appointed each other to in order to pad their salaries.
Artiga's attorney, George Mgdesyan, said the former councilman was not involved in the committees where the corruption began.
"We were not there. We did not vote for these authorities, we did not vote for these raises," Mgdesyan said. "My client was there every day working for the city of Bell."
In a September 2010 interview with the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Artiga asked for forgiveness from the Bell community, where he worked since the late 1980s as a Baptist church pastor.
"It was my job to know, and not knowing is not an excuse. I should have demanded answers, and, for that, I failed," said Artiga in the 2010 interview, who also stressed his involvement in education and job training programs, health fairs, a food bank, outside of his service as a council member.
"I never took part in approving the salaries. Everything was done before I came on council."
Artiga, who does not own a home in Bell, has owned the ranch-style home in Chino since 2002.
On Wednesday, two cars were covered in front of the house and a matted, black 325 two-door BMW with one flattened tire sat in the driveway. Two large trees stood in front of the house with a modest front porch.
One neighbor, who didn't want to identify herself, said she saw Artiga last week and he was friendly.
"He's a nice neighbor and has never done anything to us," she said.
The neighbor said either Artiga or his sons visit the Chino home a couple times a week to feed their four dogs.
"One is a Jack Russell Terrier, Sprinkles, that always gets out, but he comes back," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.