Accounts payable audit finds ex-city official embezzled $1.7 million

The former public works director for administration and accounting in Franklin County, Washington, is accused of stealing $1.7 million from his former employer.

KIMA-TV reports that Dennis Huston is charged with money laundering, theft in the first degree and possession of cocaine. The illegal activity was uncovered in January after an accounts payable audit found that a construction company did not receive funds from the county, although the payments were recorded in the financial records. Further investigation revealed that Huston deposited those funds into a company account, and then made cash withdrawals and even wrote checks to himself from the account, states the news source.

Huston was arrested in February and admitted to creating the bank account, says KIMA-TV. Also, at the time of his arrest, Huston was in possession of cocaine and told officers he embezzled the money in order to gamble and purchase drugs.

According to The News Tribune, Huston has plead not guilty to each of the charges and is currently awaiting trial. The newspaper also reports that the embezzlement started in 1990 and prosecutors believe Huston took more than $2.84 million, although the state Attorney General's Office is accusing him of stealing a "conservative minimum" of nearly $1.8 million.

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