The former budget analyst accused of stealing more than $1-million from the city of Kingman plans to enter a plea agreement rather than stand trial. That disclosure from defense attorney Adam Zickerman during a June 27 status hearing in the case against Diane Richards.
Richards, 60, was named in a 23 count indictment charging her with theft, fraud, money laundering and other crimes in November, 2017. Authorities alleged Richards siphoned the funds undetected for years, using some of the money to pay off gambling debts.
Any defense that Richards might claim has essentially not been discussed in more than a dozen preliminary hearings conducted in Mohave County Superior Court over the past 19 months. Zickerman has reviewed thousands of pages of discovery in contemplating plea offers or going to trial.
Parameters of the deal will remain confidential until the plea is entered on August 25. Some in the local legal community compare the Richards matter with the prosecution of Michael Daw, the former Mohave County Public Fiduciary.
Like Richards, Daw was accused of abusing his position of public trust and stealing more than $1-million. Daw also entered a plea deal and was given a ten year prison term in 1997.
Assuming she enters the agreement later this summer, sentencing for Richards won’t likely occur until October because Zickerman will be tied up in trial during the month of September.