Seattle sues to recover funds from ex-employee

SEATTLE — The city of Seattle has filed a lawsuit seeking to freeze the assets of an ex-public utilities employee accused of embezzling more than $1 million.

The complaint filed Friday by City Attorney Pete Holmes lists a rental home and at least three other parcels of Seattle real estate in the name of Joseph Phan.

The city hopes to recover money that disappeared between 2008 and 2010 from water main extension projects managed by Phan.

Prosecutors say Phan put the money in his personal account. He was charged March 3 with 70 counts of theft. His arraignment is scheduled for March 19.

Phan had been fired in February 2011 after an investigation found he was accessing his own utility account to credit his bill.

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