Former cop admits to embezzling almost half a million dollars

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The following news release was sent by the Arizona District Attorney's Office:

TUCSON - Former South Tucson Police Lieutenant Richard R. Garcia, 47, of Tucson, made his first appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Marshall. During today's hearing, Robles gave up his right to be indicted by a federal grand jury and pleaded guilty to an Information charging him with theft from an organization receiving federal funds, as well as to subscribing and filing false income tax returns.

Garcia admitted that between February 24, 2004 and May 21, 2008, he stole $560,177 in funds intended for the City of South Tucson and the Pima County Anti-Racketeering Fund. During the course of the thefts, he kept $454,963 from the total amount taken. In addition to the thefts, he failed to file tax returns on the money taken during tax years 2004-2007. Garcia was released on bond pending sentencing which is set before U.S. District Judge David C. Bury on April 6, 2009.

On May 22, 2008, federal agents executed search warrants on Garcia's office, home and vehicle. Garcia admitted to agents that he stole cash and cashed checks made payable to the City of South Tucson Police Department to fund his gambling habit. After the search warrants, $10,795 remained in one bank account Garcia used and was returned to the City of South Tucson. Agents also

discovered that Garcia had secretly paid back over $94,000 into the city's general fund throughout the course of the thefts. As a condition of his guilty plea, Garcia agreed to pay $254,318 restitution to the City of South Tucson and $200,266 restitution to the Pima County Anti-Racketeering Fund.

The theft conviction carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both. The tax conviction carries a maximum penalty of three years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Bury will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those

guidelines in determining a sentence.

The investigation in this case was conducted by Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Pima County Attorney's Office and South Tucson Police Department.