(WBEN) - Town Of Niagara Supervisor Steven Richards was arraigned this afternoon in state supreme court on a 28 count indictment that included three felonies, mostly dealing with the misuse of town funds and employees.
The Allegations go all the way back to 2001.
The charges include defrauding the government, official misconduct, petit larceny.
Richards pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Richards was engaging in an ongoing scheme to steal town property and use town employees and equipment for his own personal gain.
"No public official is above the law, least of all one who used a town's property and employees to further his own interests," said Schneiderman.
“This official treated the Town of Niagara like a private hardware store,” State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said.
Richards is charged with one count of Defrauding the Government, two counts of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, all class D felonies, as well as eleven counts of Petit Larceny and thirteen counts of Official Misconduct, all misdemeanors.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2001, Richards engaged in a scheme to steal goods and use town resources for his own personal benefit. The indictment alleges that he directed town employees to pick up and deliver property to his personal business, clean a clogged drain at his personal business, and connect a storm drain at a residential rental property he owns to a state storm water line, all using town equipment while on town time. Moreover, Richards allegedly stole numerous industrial supplies belonging to the town, including paint, a drill, and drain cleaner, and stole a shotgun belonging to the Town Police Department.