$4 Million Embezzlement Charges, Ex-LADWP Official Pleads “No Contest”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that Thatcus Carl (“TC”) Richard (65) from Moreno Valley, a former audio-visual technician for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, pleaded “no contest” yesterday to more than two dozen felony counts for misappropriating more than $4 million in public funds.
In June of 2015, Richard was arrested for white-collar crimes while serving as a municipal employee. He plead “not guilty” to nine counts each of conflict of interest, public officer crime, and embezzlement by a public officer in excess of $1 million.
Prosecutors say Richard misappropriated over $4 million in public funds while working as an audiovisual technician for the LADWP, which included the management of audio and video purchase orders and contracts between 1996 and 2014.
LADWP received an anonymous complaint in 2012, which prompted an investigation that uncovered almost two decades of embezzlement from awarding contracts to friends who had formed A/V companies, then subcontracted work from a company owned by Richard.
The DA alleged that Richard improperly facilitated the bidding process for the contracts: the bids went to contractors and subcontractors owned by his personal friends, ultimately allowing Richard to gain improper benefits. Richard used the DWP’s own equipment and resources to perform the work.
In 2015, Richard’s attorney said Richard, who appeared in a wheelchair, suffered Stage 4 cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and physical therapy.
LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said in a written statement, “Any employee who violates the public trust and defrauds the LADWP and our customer owners should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We have taken significant steps to strengthen our ability to detect fraud and deter a scheme like this from ever occurring again. I have also requested that the City Attorney file a civil action to attempt to recover the money that was stolen by this former employee.”
Case BA433122 was investigated by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation. Deputy District Attorneys Susan Ser and Russell Moore of the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.
Richard faces up to 14 years in state prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20.