SELMA – Selma’s City Manager Dave Elias was arrested today on suspicion of embezzlement, according to the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.
Elias, 56, of Fowler, has been charged with 13 counts of misappropriating public monies by a public officer. He was arrested by the DA’s Office Bureau of Investigations for allegedly using public funds for personal use.
The charges stem from when Elias worked as Fowler’s city manager in 2015 and 2016. Allegedly, he used Fowler’s credit cards for personal use to make more than 100 purchases that were not for legitimate city business.
If convicted, Elias faces up to 16 years in state prison.
Elias was hired to serve as Selma’s city manager in April. At the time, Councilman Louis Franco expressed doubts about hiring Elias and voted against the decision. The rest of the Selma City Council voted in favor of hiring Elias touting his experience and track record.
Franco declined to go into details at the time but said he had concerns over the circumstances in which Elias left his employment with Fowler.
“Until those concerns are fully resolved, I personally think we should continue to look,” Franco said at that April meeting.
Elias said in a July interview that he was unaware of the investigation until earlier that month. He called the purchases detailed in the DA’s legal documents as an oversight.
“I did, however, make an inadvertent purchase, as reported, for personal reasons which was an oversight on my part,” he said. Elias said the purchases had not been brought to his attention prior to this “with the attempt to allow me to correct it.”
Selma Mayor Mike Derr has not yet returned calls seeking comment.