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Former Franklin Co. Public Works Manager Gets 16 Years for Embezzlement

Former Franklin County Public Works official sentenced
(courtesy Franklin County website)

Dennis M. Huston, the former Franklin County Public Works Manager, will spend a decade and a half in prison.

Huston was sentenced for his role in what is considered the largest embezzlement case in Washington state history.

Shortly after he began working for Franklin County in 1989, he began a complicated scheme in which he wrote checks from the county accounts to a Spokane company for parts and equipment that were never delivered.

Until the thefts were discovered in 2012, Huston is believed to taken as much as $2.8 million from the county. An investigation in 2009 remarkably found no evidence of wrongdoing. What tripped up Huston was that he continued the scheme even after the company in Spokane went out of business.

He reportedly told investigators he used the money to support a drug habit. Remarkably, Huston was hired by Franklin County even after he’d served time for embezzling money from the federal government while working for the Bureau of Reclamation in Montana in 1986.

The scandal led to a shakeup of Franklin County government, with new accounting and computerized finance checks and balances put in place. One county official was fired.

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