NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven Richards has been arrested for allegedly stealing town resources, which prosecutors say has been happening for the past decade.
The FBI has been investigating Richards for the past year and a half. On Friday, he was arrested and charged with defrauding the government, two counts of fourth degree grand larceny, fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property, 11 counts of petit larceny, and 13 counts of official misconduct.
Thursday night, during a Town Council work session, Richards proclaimed his innocence.
"They're trying to do a political hatchet job on me and this is the third one I've gone through and on advice from my attorney, I'm not going to comment anymore," he said. "I’d rather sit in jail an innocent man, than be a coward and be bullied."
The NYS Attorney General says Richards used town employees on town time to pick up and deliver property to his personal business, clean a clogged drain at his business, and connect a storm drain on a rental property owned by Richards to a state storm water line. Richards also allegedly stole town supplies, including paint, a drill, drain cleaner, and a shotgun from the police department.
If convicted of all the charges, Richards faces a maximum sentence of two-and-a-third to seven years in prison.
After being arraigned in State Supreme Court in Lockport, he was released on his own recognizance.
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