Donald Richard Has To Pay Miami-Dade County For Tools He Took Home

A Miami-Dade Water & Sewer employee who purchased more than $1,700 in tools on the taxpayer's dime and then took the instruments to his house has cut a deal with prosecutors to avoid any jail time.

Last July, after the Miami-Dade Inspector General's Office found the tools at Donald Richard's residence, the electrical shop supervisor was arrested on four felony charges of organized scheme to defraud and grand theft.

>On Wednesday, Richard reached a settlement agreement with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office that requires him to forfeit $73,000 in accrued sick time. He is also banned from ever working for the county again.

Due to his position, Richard had the authority to make purchases under $1,000 when he was still employed by the Water & Sewer Department. He abused the privilege when he bought, among other items, a $70 ten-piece Irwin vise set, a $1,000 432-piece Craftsman professional mechanics tool set, and two Craftsman chests valued at $725.

Last June, the day after investigators came by his house, Richard returned the tools and the chests. Another 46 tools began to mysteriously appear at the shop the supervisor ran as well.

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.