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The Ten Thefts Alleged in the Richards' Indictment

Attorney Rodney Personius (left) represents Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven C. Richards, accused of stealing goods and services from the town. Richards wants a trial.
Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven C. Richards would not be the first elected official to be indicted and remain in office. In fact the first might well be Vice President Aaron Burr (above) who, in 1804, shot and killed Alexander Hamilton during a duel in Weehawken, N.J.. He faced a murder indictment in New York. Burr at first fled, then came back to Philadelphia to complete his term as vice president, presiding over the Senate in the nation's capital. Burr went on to face treason charges. He was acquitted.
Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven C. Richards is entitled, like any other person, to the golden thread that runs through the web of criminal law: Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat. The burden of proof lies with who declares, not who denies.
Scene of the crime? Richards Motor Services in the Town of Niagara is where the indictment claims most of the alleged incidents of theft took

The 3,000 word, 28-count indictment in the matter of "the People of the State of New York versus Steven C. Richards," alleges 10 separate incidents of theft of goods or services from the Town of Niagara, over a 12-year period, commencing in 2001 and ending on March 15, 2012.

These 10 are the basis of four felony and 24 misdemeanor charges.

The ten alleged thefts are:

1. In 2002, Richards stole, and then possessed for10 years (until 2012), a shotgun belonging to the Town of Niagara Police Department.

2. In 2002, after the New York State DOT, as part of a road project, disconnected a storm sewer line at a rental property Richards owned, Richards used Town of Niagara labor and/or town equipment to reconnect the storm sewer line on his property.

3. In 2007, Richards stole paint from the town.

4. In 2007, Richards directed town employees, using town equipment, to get a sign and sign post owned by the town brought to his business to be installed there.

5. In 2010, Richards used town labor and equipment to pick up a catch basin in Lancaster, New York, and deliver it to his business.

6. In 2010, Richards used town labor and equipment to take a drill from his business to a repair shop in Buffalo, then directed them to return later to the repair shop, retrieve the drill, and bring it back to Richards’ business.

7. In December 2010 to on or about February, 2011, Richards used town money to pay a vendor for the defendant’s personal benefit.

8. In 2011, Richards stole gravel (screenings) owned by the town and used town labor and equipment to deliver the gravel to his business.

9. In 2011, Richards stole grease and waste line cleaner owned by the town and used town labor and equipment to clean the drain and waste lines at his business.

10. From late 2011 to early 2012, Richards possessed a Honda generator owned by the Town of Niagara Police Department, without authorization.

“This official treated the Town of Niagara like a private hardware store,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, whose office participated in the investigation of Richards. "He had complete and utter disregard for taxpayer property and must be held accountable for this wrongdoing.”



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

OCT 08, 2013