PASCO -- A Franklin County judge ruled Friday that Dennis Huston will have to pay $2.8 million in restitution for embezzling money from the county for 22 years.
Judge Vic VanderSchoor said he doesn't know if Huston ever will be able to pay even a portion of the money back.
The restitution covers a period from 1996 to 2012 when Huston was collecting "consistent sums" of money after he opened a bank account in the name of a Spokane company and submitted invoices to Franklin County for equipment and parts it never received.
No records are available to show how much money Huston embezzled before 1996, Assistant Attorney General Scott Marlow said.
Huston testified briefly from his chair while shackled, dressed in an orange jumpsuit. He said he processed legitimate payments to the Spokane company while he was working for the county.
Huston's defense lawyer John Jensen argued some of the money he was convicted of embezzling actually was part of those payments.
The defense was asking for $1.7 million in restitution, Marlow said.
Huston was the Franklin County Public Works accounting and administrative director when he was fired in February 2012.
He was sentenced to 16 years in prison in March for the embezzlement scheme, which is considered by officials to be the worst government fraud in state history.
Huston said in court after he pleaded guilty that he stole money to support his cocaine and gambling habits.