Accused sewer chief arrested in the Philippines

The former head of a Marin County wastewater treatment district who fled the U.S. after being charged for allegedly embezzling and misappropriating public funds has been arrested — in the Philippines.

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Marin County prosecutors say Brett Richards is being held in a Manila detention facility after he was arrested last Thursday in Moalboal, Cebu.

Richards had been the general manager of the Ross Valley Sanitary District. He’s been wanted by authorities since March when the Marin County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint accusing him of misappropriating public funds, embezzling and money laundering.

Prosecutors say Richards diverted a $350,000 loan he received from the district, originally intended to help him find housing.

Authorities say they were able to track Richards to the idyllic beach community by checking his financial records.

Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian says it’s expected Richards will be extradited back to the U.S. within the next three to six weeks.

Richards had been hired as general manager of the Ross Valley Sanitary District in 2008. He emailed his resignation to the district in July of last year after the Marin Independent Journal published an column reporting that Richards had received the loan, but had not used the money to buy property.

The Ross Valley Sanitary District provides wastewater  collection services in Ross and several other surrounding communities.