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Erich Richter, shown here at an October debate for Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office candidates, was arrested in 2012 for allegedly defrauding Taco Bueno out of $20,000 of construction work.

A former Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputy running for sheriff was arrested in 2012 after he was accused of defrauding Taco Bueno of $20,000, records obtained by The Frontier show.

Felony charges were approved by the district attorney’s office but they do not appear on the state court website.

Erich Keith Richter, and his then-wife, Natasha Richter, were arrested by the sheriff’s office June 4, 2012, on a complaint of “false pretense over $500 or con game,” records show. The Frontier obtained Richter’s arrest report and related records Thursday from a source who asked to remain anonymous.

Richter told The Frontier on Thursday “a district judge expunged all that,” referring to the criminal case against him from 2012. Natasha Richter could not be reached for comment.

“My side is I don’t have a side,” he said. “If you go to OSCN (the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network,) you won’t find anything. There’s nothing to it.”

Richter is one of 13 candidates who filed to run for the office, which was vacated when former Sheriff Stanley Glanz resigned after being indicted by a grand jury. A special election will be held in March and April for the remainder of Glanz’s term.

Erich Richter tcso sheriff candidate

Erich Keith Richter. Courtesy

On his campaign website, Richter says he worked for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy from 2006 to 2008, then at the Payne County Sheriff’s Office from 2009 to 2010, before joining the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training as an instructor.

He said he currently works as an adjunct professor at Southern Nazarene University, and is a reserve officer at the Mounds Police Department. Mounds Police Department Assistant Chief Craig Murray said Friday that Richter was currently going through the reserve officer field training program, a program he had only joined within the last month.

On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office released Richter’s files to The Frontier. The former deputy began his training Jan. 3, 2006, and the first mention of him being transferred within TCSO came in a June 29, 2007, document that shows him being removed from Tulsa County Courthouse operations and placed at the Tulsa Jail under then-Undersheriff Tim Albin.

That December, Richter was moved to the jail’s front lobby, records show. He resigned from the sheriff’s office four weeks later.

County employment records show Richter was employed by the sheriff’s office from April 1, 2006, to Dec. 31, 2007. On Jan. 1, 2008, he began working at the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office, where he was employed for six weeks.

Those records do not list why Richter left either job. The assessor’s office has since come under scrutiny. Glanz told the Tulsa World in May that the 12 assessors he selected were “political patronage” jobs he awarded for “service to the community.”

Many of the county’s assessors are relatives of Glanz, friends of his or relatives of friends. The story said more than $3 million had been paid to the 12 assessors since 2009.

Catherine Streater, CLEET paralegal, said she could only confirm that Richter is currently a certified peace officer.

Richter’s arrest report lists him as unemployed at the time of his arrest. Records show Richter was self-employed at a construction company called Seagate Construction at the time of the alleged fraud, which reportedly occurred between April 2011 and January 2012.

Richter billed Taco Bueno for more than $26,000 worth of construction work during that period, according to a TCSO affidavit. Richter’s wife was a district manager for Taco Bueno at the time and approved the invoices, records show.

Natasha Richter managed five local restaurants for the company at the time, the reports state.

Though $26,504 worth of work was billed to Taco Bueno, the company could only identify a little more than $6,000 worth of work completed, the affidavit states. The company’s risk management officer in Texas reported the alleged overbilling in February 2012 and it’s unclear why the two weren’t arrested for four months.

A “District Attorney’s Intake” form reviewed by The Frontier showed that criminal charges were approved for both Erich and Natasha Richter, though district court records do not show any charges being filed. The arrest reports do list a case number, which appears in OSCN as a blank record.

The person whom Erich Richter listed as “next of kin” on his booking sheet at the time of his arrest was granted an emergency protective order against him in 2013, court records show.

Heidi Main, who is identified in the protective order as being related to Richter “by blood,” was granted a protective order in Wagoner County on March 11, 2013.

In the order, she stated she was afraid of Richter, who she claimed “has an anger issue” and was verbally abusive. The protective order was dismissed two weeks later at Mann’s request, records show.

Richter also responded to accusations that a switch of his voter registration earlier this year could make him ineligible for sheriff candidacy. Candidates must be registered with the same party for six months before the filing deadline.

Richter said before the special election was called, he had contemplated running as a Democrat, and switched parties. He filed to run for sheriff earlier this week as a Republican.

“Then they announced the special election,” he said. “The way I read the statutes, I don’t believe there will be any problems, so we’ll see if someone will spend the $250 to contest my candidacy.”

Richter is not the only candidate for sheriff facing controversy. On Thursday, Jason Jackson, a Jenks police officer running for sheriff, contested the candidacy of three of his competitors.

Jackson said in a statement that he believed Henry Jones, who registered as a Democrat, and John Fitzpatrick, a Republican, are not certified peace officers, which is a pre-requisite for running for sheriff.

Jones, 62, filed a Declaration of Candidacy this week that lists him as a “Mad Democrat.”

Fitzpatrick is a businessman and reserve officer for the Tulsa Police Department. He responded to Jason Jackson’s claim on Facebook by saying he “indisputably” meets the qualifications to run for sheriff.

Jason Jackson also contested the candidacy of Arthur Jackson, the only Independent candidate. Arthur Jackson is a former supervisor at the Tulsa Jail who worked both for Glanz and for Corrections Corporation of America when they ran operations there.