Water district manager accused of embezzling $400,000

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

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The longtime manager of the Roosevelt Water District in Snohomish County has been charged with embezzling more than $400,000.

KIRO 7 found 75-year-old Jesse Rowe on his 7-acre property in Snohomish. "I know about the allegations," Rowe told us. "I've been knowing about them since December. I don't have nothing to say." Rowe refused to talk about the more than $400,000 he admitted to board members he stole from the Roosevelt Water District, which he managed for 25 years.

According to court documents, Rowe used the money to pay off some huge credit card bills -- more than $100,000 to a AAA Visa card, nearly $71,000 to American Express, another $64,000 to Bank of America and Chevron got nearly $35,000 -- more than $260,000 in all. Investigators said he spent another $15,000 on lawn and garden products, presumably on his property.

"If it's true, then we can understand how he lived so high," said longtime neighbor Bill Farrimond. Farrimond said they had their suspicions for years. "He's got a $750,000 home and no other income," he said.

Now Rowe said he has sold his home. "I'm getting my place cleaned up so I can get out of here," he told us.

Rowe told the District Board he felt entitled to the money because of the "extra work he did." The board sued him in June. He is to be arraigned on the criminal theft charge Sept. 16.