KINGMAN – The case is closed on 81-year-old Victor Albert Riccardi Jr., providing he successfully completes three years of probation, pays $1,357 in restitution and vacate his position as board member of Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire District.
Mohave County Superior Court Rick Lambert finalized Riccardi’s sentence late Tuesday afternoon, giving him a chance to reduce two felony counts of conflict of interest to undesignated misdemeanors.
Riccardi promised he wouldn’t touch another fire truck again after getting in hot water last year for having one of NACFD’s fire engines worked on at his auto repair shop in Valle Vista.
He spent 27 days in Mohave County Jail after first refusing to take a plea agreement for his involvement in the repair. He said the shop is run by his grandson, and that he only owns the building.
“I did not personally work on the vehicle. I oversaw it, but I was unable to do the actual work,” Riccardi said.
Lambert asked Riccardi if he had read the presentence agreement at the start of Tuesday’s sentencing, and when he replied that he had not, the judge sent him and his attorney, Ashley Weeks, into the hallway to go over the report.
Upon their return, Lambert asked if he had any issues with the plea agreement. Riccardi said he felt three years’ probation was too much.
“That’s something you, your attorney and the prosecutor came to an agreement on,” Lambert said.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney James Schoppman said the court should follow the terms of the agreement and shouldn’t impose anything else, certainly no fines.
Riccardi acknowledges that he’s guilty of conflict of interest in the plea agreement, and the essential part is that his position on the board become vacant, Schoppmann said.
“The defendant shall not participate as a board member. Once he is sentenced, by law the office is vacant and there should be no confusion about that,” Schoppmann said.
When Lambert asked Riccardi if he understood the terms, he answered, “Not sure.”
The judge repeated the stipulation about not participating as a board after sentencing, and asked if he understood that.
“Yes sir,” Riccardi responded.
In addition to the $1,357 restitution payment, Riccardi was ordered to pay $400 in fees for his public defender he had before hiring a private attorney, along with $75 monthly probation assessment fees.
Riccardi pleaded guilty to one count of conflict of interest for accepting the repair work on one of the district’s fire engines in April 2017, and pleaded guilty to a second count for voting in September 2017 to withhold board minutes from the Mohave County Attorney’s Office.
Lambert suspended imposition of sentences, and placed Riccardi on probation. He must complete 100 hours of community service and was given credit for 27 days served in jail.