Ross Valley Sanitation District director wanted for embezzlement

April 9, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The man who used to hold the top job at a Marin County sanitation district is a fugitive and there is a $1 million warrant out for his arrest for stealing tax payer dollars.

Last July, Brett Richards, 45, abruptly resigned as the Ross Valley Sanitation District's executive director and disappeared. Now he is wanted on nine counts including money laundering and embezzling. There is also a $1 million warrant out for his arrest.

"We had heard he was in Florida in late summer, early fall. But the board had no contact with him," said Ross Valley Sanitation District board president Frank Eggers.

Eggers said a $350,000 loan was a perk intended to help Richards buy a home when he was hired in 2008. Instead, the district attorney says Richards laundered it through several bank accounts and never bought a home. Eggers, who was elected shortly before Richards resigned, says there was very little oversight.

"I questioned that. I said, 'Well, where's the security? Are we holding a second deed of trust?' because that's what I went looking for, a second deed of trust on a property, and found out we held no paper on any property," said Eggers.

"These people should be responsible for it and I think it's going to come out who actually signed off on the deal and they're going to have some explaining to do," said Ross Valley Sanitary District customer Jeff Martin.

"To see a public figure like that take the money and run, it's a huge travesty," said Ross Valley Sanitary District customer Mike Levin.

Now, the Ross Valley Sanitation Board is asking the state to audit it. On Monday it will meet to figure out how to get the money back, and how to prevent this from happening again.


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