Former Kingman employee accused of stealing more than $1M

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Diane Maxine Richards (Source: Arizona Attorney General's Office) Diane Maxine Richards (Source: Arizona Attorney General's Office)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A former Kingman employee is accused of stealing more than $1 million from the city.

Former Budget Analyst and Interim Finance Director Diane Maxine Richards was arrested and is being held at the Mohave County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

The arrest comes after a state grand jury indicted her on 23 felony counts including theft, forgery and misuse of public monies.

Special agents with the Attorney General's Office and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched an investigation in September after financial institutions reported unusual activity involving Richards' bank accounts. 

Investigators found Richards allegedly misused a city of Kingman credit card to pay for her personal expenses, including her cellphone, utility and car insurance bills, from July 2007 through January 2016. Richards allegedly submitted falsified invoices to account for the charges.

She also allegedly used the city's credit card to pay off cash advances taken out at various casinos in Laughlin, Nevada, authorities said.

The total amount Richards allegedly spent on the city of Kingman credit card without authorization is $121,862.

From September 2008 to November 2015, Richards allegedly misappropriated money from a bank account used by the city of Kingman to fund its Employee Benefits Trust. The indictment alleges Richards misused her position as security manager on the account to alter the access settings and granted herself sole authority to both initiate and approve transactions.

Richards is also alleged to have transferred money out of the account to pay off 17 personal lines of credit. A large portion of the money was used to allegedly cover cash advances taken out on Richards' credit cards at Laughlin casinos. Richards is accused of misappropriating $991,727 from the Employee Benefits Trust account.

Richards was terminated in November 2015 following the execution of search warrants at her home and Kingman City Hall. 

"Protecting the hardworking taxpayers of Arizona is a top priority," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "Taxpayers are the real victims in cases involving theft and misuse of public monies. Our office will continue to work with HSI and all law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute these cases."

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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