A former assistant engineer for the city of Santa Clarita pleaded no contest Monday to embezzling more than $533,000 and was sentenced to four years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
David Rubira, 41, pleaded no contest to one felony count of misappropriation of public funds and was immediately sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Walgren, said DA spokeswoman Jane Robison in a news release issued Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett with the Public Integrity Division said Rubira also was ordered to pay $533,570 in restitution.
Rubira’ s vehicles and home were seized by prosecutors, Hassett said.
Between November 2012 and April 2015, the married father of pre-teen children who lives in the Calgrove Boulevard area in Newhall, fraudulently routed cash in lieu of bond refunds to fictitious companies that he created.
The refunds were supposed to go back to construction companies for completed city building projects.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Rubira, an eight-year employee with the city, was arrested in May on suspicion he misappropriated more than $500,000 in public funds. His pay from the city was $83,168 a year in 2014, or $114,340 a year in pay and benefits, according to the state’s Transparent California website.
Upon his arrest, he was placed on paid administrative leave, as required by state law. And the city immediately initiated termination proceedings, city of Santa Clarita spokeswoman Gail Morgan said at the time of his arrest.
At the same time, the city, which carries a $1 million fraud policy, launched its own internal investigation.
The city hired the auditing firm KPMG to complete a forensic audit immediately following information received from the Sheriff’s Department regarding the then-alleged embezzlement, Morgan said Monday.
“We are pleased that Mr. Rubira will be punished for his crimes and violation of the public’s trust,” City Manager Ken Striplin was quoted as saying in a news release issued Monday.
Rubira, according to Striplin, oversaw developer funds deposited as part of the permit entitlement process. Required by the city, the funds were held pending completion of required work by developers as part of their project in the city.
He was arraigned in August on seven counts of embezzlement of public funds and one count of public officer embezzling for personal use, all felonies, Robison said following the hearing.
At that time Rubira pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him. He was ordered to appear back in court.
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