Crime & Justice

LA utility technician pleads no contest in contracts scheme

File: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
File: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Michael Chen/flickr Creative Commons

A former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power audio-visual technician has pleaded no contest to allegations of misappropriating more than $4 million in public funds.

The district attorney's office says Thatcus Carl Richard of Moreno Valley entered the plea Thursday to nine counts each of conflict of interest, public officer crime and embezzlement by a public officer.

Prosecutors say that Richard used friends to set up audio-visual companies, helped award DWP contracts to them and the companies would then subcontract the work to Richard. Authorities say he then used the utility's own equipment and resources to do the work.

Sentencing is set for June 20. Richard could face up to 14 years in prison.