PASCO, Wash. The former Franklin County accounting manager for public works has pleaded guilty to theft, money laundering and cocaine possession with aggravating circumstances.
Dennis Huston Thursday changed his plea to avoid trial in March.
Huston faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in the next six to eight weeks.
Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow says he will recommend a 15-year prison sentence.
The plea agreement includes Huston paying back the nearly three million dollars he embezzled from taxpayers over the past 20-years, but Marlow says the county most likely will never see that money again.
"We have a very clear picture of Mr. Huston's financial circumstances, and unfortunately Franklin County will not be able to get that money back, " Marlow says.
Marlow says despite Huston pleading guilty to all charges, the sentencing range "isn't enough."
"This is the kind of wound that will fester for a while unfortunately, because of the amount of money stolen is going to continue to hurt the county for a very long period of time."
Huston has been free on bond. After the conviction, sheriff's deputies put Huston in handcuffs and led him to jail until he posted a $10,000 bond.
Huston's attorney, John Jensen, told the judge any significant prison sentence "would be considered a death sentence."
Huston is 65 years old.
The assistant attorney general says this is the single largest embezzlement of public funds in Washington state history.
Tuesday, March 11 2014 2:36 AM EDT2014-03-11 06:36:47 GMT
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