70 theft charges filed against ex-utility worker

  • Tue Mar 6th, 2012 8:16pm
  • News

Associated Press

SEATTLE — King County prosecutors filed 70 theft charges Tuesday against a man accused of embezzling more than $1 million when he worked as a project manager for Seattle Public Utilities.

Joseph Phan is accused of diverting checks for water main extension projects between 2008 and 2010 into his personal bank account.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg says it’s the largest embezzlement of public funds in modern King County history. About $220,000 of the money has been recovered.

Phan was fired in February 2011 for crediting his own utility bills.

If convicted, the 44-year-old would face a standard four-year sentence but prosecutors are seeking a longer term. He’s held on $750,000 bail for arraignment on March 19.

The Seattle City Council utilities committee called Tuesday for an investigation by the city auditor.