Authorities in the Philippines have arrested the former general manager of the Ross Valley Sanitary District who has been charged with misappropriating public funds, Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said.
Brett Richards, 45, was arrested July 11 without incident by the Philippines Bureau of Immigration and the Philippine National Police at Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines, Berberian said.
Richards is being held in the main Philippines Bureau of Immigration's detention processing center awaiting further proceedings on Thursday regarding his return to the United States.
The exact date of Richards' return to Marin County for prosecution is not known, but it is anticipated to be within the next three to six weeks, 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.
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.
The Marin District Attorney's Office requested the FBI to issue an 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.
The warrant authorized the FBI to work with Philippine law enforcement authorities to execute the outstanding criminal warrants.
There is no evidence that other Ross Valley Sanitary District employees or elected board members were complicit in Richards' alleged illegal actions, Berberian said.
The Ross Valley Sanitary District collects wastewater from eight communities in Ross Valley including Kentfield, Greenbrae, Ross, San Anselmo and Fairfax.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.