General Crime

Former Ross Valley Sanitary District General Manager Brett Richards to Be Arraigned on Alleged Embezzlement, Money Laundering and Misappropriation of Public Funds Charges

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Former Ross Valley Sanitary District general manager Brett Richards was booked into the Marin County jail under $1 million bail Saturday and will be arraigned Tuesday morning in Marin County Superior Court on embezzlement, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds charges.

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration and the Philippine National Police at Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines, arrested Brett Richards, 45, July 11 without incident, Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said. Richards was being held in the main Philippine Bureau of Immigration’s detention processing center awaiting further proceedings before his return to Marin County, Berberian said. Richards allegedly diverted $350,000 in public funds that were loaned to him as part of his compensation package, Berberian said.

The money was to be used to help Richards find housing in the Bay Area, Berberian said. An eight-month investigation determined Richards moved the money through a series of bank accounts and never used the money as intended, Berberian said. Shortly before the investigation began, Richards resigned his position with the Ross Valley Sanitary District and left the Bay Area, Berberian said.

On March 5, The Marin County District Attorney’s Office filed nine felony charges of misappropriation of public funds, money laundering and embezzlement of public funds. Richards’ bail was set at $1 million. The continuing investigation determined Richards fled the country and financial records tracked him to the Philippines, Berberian said. The Marin District Attorney’s Office requested the FBI to issue and Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution warrant under the provisions of the Federal Fugitive Felon Act, Berberian said.

A federal complaint was filed on April 10 and a warrant was issued for Richards’ arrest, Berberian said. The warrant authorized the FBI to work with Philippine law enforcement authorities to execute the outstanding criminal warrants, Berberian said. There is no evidence other Ross Valley Sanitary District employees or elected board members were complicit in the Richards’ alleged illegal actions, Berberian said. The 113-year-old Ross Valley Sanitary District collects wastewater from eight communities in Ross Valley including Kentfield, Greenbrae, Ross, San Anselmo and Fairfax.

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