Franklin County embezzlement case nets 16 years

PASCO, Wash. (AP) - A judge has sentenced a former Franklin County employee to 16 years in prison for embezzlement in what the state auditor called the largest public embezzlement case in state history.

Dennis Huston pleaded guilty in January to theft, money laundering and cocaine possession. He was accused of embezzling $2.8 million, beginning in 1989 until he was fired as Franklin County Public Works accounting director last year.

Huston faced a maximum possible sentence of 25 years. The Tri-City Herald reports that Franklin County Superior Court Judge Vic VanderSchoor sentenced Huston to 16 years Wednesday.

Huston started working for Franklin County about eight months after he was paroled from federal prison. He had been convicted of stealing $142,000 in 1986 while working for the federal Bureau of Reclamation in Montana.