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Water Official Sentenced to 180 days in Jail

Water Official Sentenced to 180 days in Jail

The treasurer of the West Basin Municipal Water District pleaded guilty today to charges that he

embezzled nearly $20,000 from the agency to pay for tennis and dance lessons for his children and

repairs on his boat, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Ronald Craig Smith, 55, pleaded guilty to one count of conflict of interest before Los Angeles County

Superior Court Judge Thomas Sokolov. He was immediately sentenced to 180 days in county jail and

placed on probation for five years.

As part of a negotiated plea, Smith submitted his resignation today to the West Basin Municipal Water

District, and he turned over a $10,000 check to the district as a partial repayment of the stolen funds.

He was ordered to pay $7,765 in remaining restitution to the water district.

Deputy District Attorney Alison M. Estrada with the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

Arraignment for Smith’s two co-defendants, Robert Earl Katherman Jr. (dob 6/22/46) and his wife,

Marilyn Katherman (dob 11/11/48), was postponed to Oct. 1 in the same courtroom in case YA090605.

Smith admitted orchestrating a scheme to funnel money from the West Basin board to a nonprofit

agency run by the Kathermans. Shortly after receiving the water basin’s donations, the agency began

writing checks on behalf of Smith and his family that covered school tuition for his son and two

daughters along with a $3,500 check that went to repair Smith’s boat.

September 9, 2014

About Author

tmiller Terry Miller has been in the newspaper business for 35 plus years, following in the footsteps of his father who was a Foreign Correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph when the family sailed to New York from London abroad the Queen Mary. When not shooting pictures, chasing a breaking news story. or playing drums, Miller spends entirely too much time and effort with Little British Sports Cars like his beloved 74 MGB...more like an addiction, says his wife of 22 years.


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