$2.8 million and counting, Franklin county wants its money back

$2.8 million and counting, Franklin county wants its money back
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. -- Franklin County now says it wasn't the victim of a million-dollar fraud... that's only the beginning. Commissioner Brad Peck told KEPR, "It is clearly in the 2 to 3 million, perhaps more range."

Court documents filed by the county in a lawsuit against Dennis and Noel Huston claim all that money was sent to a company called "Critzer Equipment." Prosecutors say the invoices were fake for equipment that was never delivered, but the money was real and it wound up in Dennis Huston's wallet. Peck responds, "The county would like to know what Mr. Huston and or others did with those monies and where they went."

Huston admitted to having a cocaine habit, but he was considered a very functional employee in the Public Works dept. When he was initially arrested, jail nurses said he didn't show signs of addiction. People close to Huston tell KEPR he also struggled with gambling. "Wherever it went, we want it back," says Peck.

Huston has 20 days to respond with his defense of the civil lawsuit, However, there is still no criminal claim against him. Peck says, "There's no doubt in my mind, there will be prosecution."

No matter how sure the county is, it's still up to the State Attorney General's office to file official charges against Huston. They say that could still be weeks away and until then Huston sit in his Pasco home.

The county fired him in February and two of his supervisors in Public Works are on paid administrative leave. A special meeting is scheduled for Monday to consider action against these employees. County leaders don't understand how they signed off on these accounts without noticing something wrong. Peck says, "In this case there's a whole lot of evidence that says there's at least one very guilty person."