Huston pleads innocent, sent back to jail - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Huston pleads innocent, sent back to jail

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PASCO,Wash.-Franklin County's former public works accounting manager is back in jail.

Dennis Huston has been free on his personal recognizance for the past two weeks, after the state attorney general charged him with theft, money laundering, and cocaine possession.

But Superior Court Judge Robert Swisher set a $50,000 bail, citing the serious nature of the charges, Huston's age, 64, and that Huston could spend the rest of his life in prison  if convicted.

Huston was booked into Franklin County jail while his attorney began to arrange posting of the bail.

Based on the three counts, Huston could face a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Franklin County Commissioners fired Huston in February, after newly elected auditor Matt Beaton discovered financial discrepancies in the public works department. Prosecutors say Huston embezzled $1.5 million dollars over a ten-year period.

The public works department hired Huston in 1990, less than one year after he was released from federal prison in Montana for a similar offense while he worked for the Bureau of Reclamation.

Huston has pleaded innocent. The judge set Huston's trial for August.