DEEP RIVER – Richard Faust, the town’s Republican selectman, was charged by Connecticut State Police at about 10 a.m. on Monday, January 15 for third-degree larceny.
The charge is based on evidence seized by police during an investigation regarding an alleged embezzlement of funds from the American Legion Post #61 which began Sept. 11, 2006.
Connecticut State Statue classifies third-degree larceny as a Class D felony involving theft of $1,000 to $5,000 and punishable by one to five years in prison or a fine up to $5,000.
According to court records at the Middlesex Superior Court, his arrest occurred at 6 Plains Road in Essex, the residence of Linda Steindl, according to Switchboard.com
The residence is close to his employer, Mail Mart, at 12 Plains Road, where he works as a shipping clerk.
Faust was released from police custody shortly after the arrest on a $1,500 non-surety bond and given a court date of Jan. 25 at 9:30 a.m.
A non-surety bond issues because of a felony charges requires the accused to appear in court or risk rearrest and one year in prison or a $5,000 fine or both.
Faust served as post treasurer for the American Legion several terms before submitting a letter of resignation at the January 15 meeting, said Joseph Miezejeski, a longtime post member.
Miezejeski served on the Deep River Board of Selectmen from 1977 to 1989 and served as First Selectman for eight years during that time.
Knowing Faust for over ten years, Miezejeski said, “I kind of liked the guy,” adding that Faust been active in the American Legion for a long time.
Uncertain of details regarding accusations against Faust, Miezejeski said that the American Legion account never has more than $3,000 in it.
The Legion meets regularly at the community room of the Deep River Library and does not own a building in town, Miezejeski said.
Funds in the account derive from collecting soda cans at the town landfill, spaghetti dinners, and other fundraisers.
According to court records, evidence collected included the Legion’s check register dated June 23 to June 27, 2006, Webster Bank statements dated Nov. 22, 2005 to October 31, 2006, and cancelled Citizens Bank checks dated June 15, 2006 to Sept. 15, 2006.
Other evidence seized was American Legion Post monthly meeting minutes and financial reports between June 20, 2005 and June 19, 2006, an Adam’s Supermarket receipt dated Sept. 11, a Wal-Mart receipt dated Sept. 10, and a copy of a check from the Deep River Republican Town Committee to Faust.
Messages for Lieutenant J. Paul Vance, Commanding Officer for the Connecticut State Police were not returned.
“Having the responsibility of ensuring its elected officials represent the registered members of its party, the Deep River Republican Town Committee asked that I re-evaluate my ability to perform my duties as a member of the Board of Selectman,” Faust wrote in a press release last week.
Smith confirmed that he believes the investigation is not related to Faust’s role as selectman.
Faust wrote that after talking with his family, close friends, and members of the Republican Town Committee, “I have decided, with their support, to continue in my position as a selectman.”
Unless convicted of a felony, Faust would not be required by law to resign from the board.
Smith confirmed that both he and fellow Democrat Selectman Richard Daniels asked Faust not to resign when they initially learned Faust was under investigation by police.
Faust also wrote, “In my elected position representing the Republican Party on the Board of Selectman, I am certain that I have performed my responsibilities with integrity and due diligence in behalf of all of the residents of Deep River, and I will continue to do so.”
Faust wrote he has “grappling with some very difficult personal issues. I have been working to resolve these issues and will continue to do so.”
These personal problems have caused Faust to be absent from Board of Selectmen meetings and public hearings over the last two months.
“The last several months have been some of the most difficult time of my life for me as well as for my family,” Faust wrote.
At the end of the press release, Faust wrote, “I have great respect for the position I have been entrusted with and very much appreciate the opportunity it gives me to serve the residents of Deep River. It is my intent to continue to do so. I offer my sincerest apologies to all of my failures, and many, many thanks to those who have continued to support me.”
Faust was elected to the Board of Selectmen last year and is serving a two-year term which will expire on Nov. 20.
At press time, Faust was unavailable for comment.