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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power worker has pleaded not guilty to charges he helped steer audio-visual contracts to friends, misappropriating more than $4 million in public funds.

Prosecutors claim Thatcus “T.C.” Richard routed the contract work to companies owned by friends who in turn subcontracted work to a firm he owned, paying the audio-visual technician more than $1 million.

Richard”s attorney told The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1GIsF2Z ) his client maintains he is falsely accused. Attorney Richard Coberly says Richard was a diligent employee and is upset about the allegations.

He added that his client has Stage 4 cancer in his back and hip.

Coberly asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Upinder S. Kalra to release Richard on his own recognize, but bail was set at $775,000.

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