Biola's former general manager pleaded no contest Monday to stealing money from the town's utility district and using a document that had Fresno County District Attorney Elizabeth Egan's forged signature.
John David Rivera, 42, entered his plea in Fresno County Superior Court after he learned he could receive probation for his crimes, said defense attorney David Jones, who defended Rivera.
He will also have to pay restitution to the Biola Community Services District.
Biola, founded in 1912, lies off Shaw Avenue seven miles west of Fresno.
Rivera, a former Selma police officer, was hired by the utility district in late 2010, but got into trouble after former Biola board members Alfonso and Bibiana Rabago began to question Rivera's handling of district finances. The Rabagos reported their suspicions to sheriff's detectives.
In August 2011, Rivera was arrested after detectives said he he had embezzled more than $60,000 from the district -- including two checks totaling $25,000 that were deposited directly into his personal account. He also used the district's money to buy a 2005 Ford Mustang coupe, a 2003 Ford Mustang convertible and a 51-inch 3-D television, sheriff's officials said.
In a separate criminal case, Rivera was accused of using Egan's electronic signature in an email to tell a potential employer that "he is not being investigated any further" in connection with the Biola criminal case.
Rivera has been free on his own recognizance since September last year when he was released from jail due to crowded conditions. He will be sentenced on Dec. 11.
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