June 25, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Bail-Review for LADWP Technician who Stole $4 Million in Public Funds

gavel (1)A bail-review hearing is scheduled today for a former audio-visual technician for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power charged with misappropriating more than $4 million in public funds.

Thatcus Carl Richard, 64, of Moreno Valley, is jailed in lieu of $775,000 bail. During his arraignment last week, defense attorney Richard Coberly asked that his client be released on his own recognizance. The attorney said Richard — who was brought to court in a wheelchair — has Stage 4 cancer in his back and hip and has missed at least one dose of pain medication since being arrested June 10 by agents from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

Richard pleaded not guilty last week to nine counts each of conflict of interest, public officer crime and embezzlement by a public officer.

“We’re trying to make sure that he’s in a private medical facility where he’s getting the best care that he can get,” Coberly said outside court last week. “So far, he has missed at least one round of pain medication. He is missing chemotherapy and radiation therapy that he was scheduled for today (June 15) and he has also missed at least one session of physical therapy.”

Between July 1996 and March 2014, Richard — who was in charge of managing video and audio jobs for the utility — allegedly enlisted friends to establish audio-visual companies and then helped award DWP contracts to them.

In return, the companies would subcontract the work to a company owned by the defendant called Top Line Communications, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Richard is also accused of using DWP equipment and resources for his personal gain. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 20 years in state prison.

DWP officials said that as a result of the case, the utility has begun reviewing all of the contracts initiated by its small business units over the past five years and has bolstered training for contract managers. For the first time, the utility also established a vendor-authentication unit to verify the legitimacy of companies doing business with the DWP.

in Crime, News
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