http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/12/12/atherton-building-contractor-charged-with-felonies


Almanac

News - December 12, 2012

Atherton: Building contractor charged with felonies

by Renee Batti

A building contractor is due in court on Dec. 20 to enter a plea on felony grand theft and other charges stemming from work he did for an Atherton resident.

Richard Smith, 54, of Redding was arrested on Oct. 30 by Atherton police, and is accused of a number of crimes allegedly intended to defraud the resident out of about $400,000, according to Police Lt. Joe Wade.

The court complaint identifies the victim as Larry Lowry, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti. Mr. Smith was performing work on property in the 100 block of Stockbridge Avenue, Lt. Wade said.

Mr. Smith faces three charges of grand theft, one charge of diversion of funds, one charge of making or passing a fictitious check, and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses, Ms. Guidotti said. All are felony charges.

Mr. Smith appeared in court last week with attorney Robert Mezzetti, and the case was continued to Dec. 20, Ms. Guidotti said.

Although Mr. Mezzetti said he has not yet been formally retained, he said he is reviewing the case and is likely to represent Mr. Smith. "The indication I have from the limited investigation I've conducted is that the charges are ... baseless," he told the Almanac.

He said Mr. Smith has never been in trouble with the law before, and has a good reputation in his field. "It's a vindictive person that is driving this claim," he said, calling the matter a "deal gone bad."

Mr. Smith posted a $75,000 bail bond and is out of custody, Ms. Guidotti said.

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