Richards chokes back tears during sentencing

TOWN OF NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Former Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven Richards choked back tears Monday as he was sentenced.

“Your honor, I would just like to formally apologize to this court, the residents of my town, especially my family. I’m sorry,” Richards said.

In May, the longtime supervisor stepped down from office and pleaded guilty to official misconduct. Judge Christoper Burns sentenced Richards to three years probation.

He admitted using town resources for his personal gain back in 2010. Prosecutors from the New York Attorney General’s Office said Richards used town workers on town time to pick up a catch basin and bring it to his auto business.

In court, Assistant New York Attorney General Diane LaVallee said, “It is hoped that this prosecution serves as a deterrent for other public servants who would contemplate overstepping the boundary between what is theirs and what is public property.”

Richards’ attorney Scott Hapeman declined to answer questions from reporters. Instead, he read a prepared statement:

“The interests of the Town of Niagara community are best served by making no public comment regarding this case. Mr. Richards intends to move forward with retirement, focusing on the future and spending time with his family.”

Richards already paid more than $1,200 in restitution.

During probation Richards must stay away from town hall. He also can’t have any interaction with Town of Niagara employees, and he has to stay out of politics.

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