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California Briefing / SAN BERNARDINO

Guilty plea in embezzlement

September 30, 2008|From the Associated Press

The former manager of the Yucca Valley Airport has pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.3 million in state money.

Prosecutors say Richard Demel pleaded guilty to seven counts of embezzlement Monday in San Bernardino.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Lewis Cope says Demel applied for a state grant to repair airport runways in 2003. When the check came, he deposited it in a new bank account and disappeared.

Airport officials did not learn about the grant until 2007 when the governor's office called for a status report on the runways.

Cope says Demel will have to return the money to the airport district, pay a fine of more than $320,000 and serve four years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

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