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Santa Rosa man pleads not guilty to embezzling from disabled clients

A former North Bay Regional Center employee pleaded not guilty Friday to embezzling $400,000 from developmentally disabled patients over an extended period stretching back to 2006.

Larry Gene Sark, 66, is charged with 35 counts of elder theft with enhancements for white-collar crime and stealing more than $150,000. He faces a long prison sentence if convicted.

Prosecutors believe the ex-program coordinator took Social Security and other checks from 51 people between the ages of 20 and 70 before retiring in late 2012.

Sark was arrested last month after an investigation revealed he was depositing the checks into his own accounts, prosecutors said. He has remained in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. His lawyer, Ben Adams, on Friday said only that he was reviewing 20,000 pages of evidence and needed more time to study the allegations.

Judge Shelly Averill is expected to set a preliminary hearing at Sark's next court appearance on April 4.


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