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Former Kingman, Ariz. employee arrested for stealing more than $1M in city funds

PHOENIX — A former City of Kingman, Arizona, employee has been arrested on suspicion of stealing more than $1 million from the city since 2007, according to a recent press release.

Diane Richards (Photo: Mohave County Sheriff's Office)

Diane Richards (Photo: Mohave County Sheriff’s Office)

Diane Maxine Richards, a former budget analyst and interrim finance director for the city, was arrested Wednesday and indicted on 23 felony counts, including theft, forgery and misuse of public monies.

Authorities said Richards was fired in November 2015 from her position after served search warrants were ordered on her home and City Hall.

Special agents with the Attorney General’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations began investigating Richards in September 2015 after banks reported unusual activity involving her accounts.

Authorities found Richards spent nearly $122,000 on a city credit card to pay her cell phone, utility and car insurance bills from July 2007 until January 2015 and paid off cash advances taken out at multiple Nevada casinos.

She is suspected of falsifying invoices to account for the charges.

Richards is also suspected of misappropriating city funds upwards of $992,000 to supply the city’s employee benefits trust from September 2008 to November 2015.

The total amount Richards is suspected to have taken is $1,113,589.85.

Police said Richards was the security manager on the city account and was able to alter the access settings to grant herself the ability to approve transactions solely.

Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in the release the authorities are working hard to address their top priority: Protecting taxpayer money.

“Taxpayers are the real victims in cases involving theft and misuse of public monies,” the release read. “Our office will continue to work with (Homeland Security Investigations) and all law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute these cases.”

She is currently being held at the Mohave County Jail on a $100,000 bond. It is unknown whether Richards has a lawyer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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