County employee caught stealing

Longtime worker allegedly pocketed cash, gift cards from a contractor

A Butte County Public Works employee is facing felony charges for allegedly pocketing cash and gift cards from a contractor hired to remove trees from county rights of way.

The alleged embezzler, Charles Bryan Graves, 46, is an 11-year county employee who supervises the county’s road maintenance crews, said District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who recently completed a month-long investigation.

Ramsey said a contractor hired by Graves to remove trees and stumps from county property would in some cases pay the county because the wood was worth more than the cost of removal. For example, the contractor paid $5,000 for a walnut tree in north Chico in the form of a $3,500 check, a $1,000 Costco gift card and a $500 Walmart gift card. The check went to the county, but not the cards. The same contractor reportedly gave Graves cash totaling $1,700 in a couple of other cases. If convicted, Graves faces up to six years in prison.