Sacto 9-1-1
September 3, 2010
Ask Sacto 9-1-1: $5 million embezzler on lam from drug charges

Q: What happened to Louis Fowler, who embezzled $5 million from the state and later was caught growing a large amount of marijuana? - Anonymous, Sacramento

A: Fowler, now 55, of Sacramento, is a fugitive after failing to appear before a federal judge in December 2007, according to court records and Bee reports.

fowler[1].JPGFowler (photo left), who had been operating a Folsom Boulevard medical marijuana dispensary until he was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in 2005, failed to show up Dec. 21, 2007, for a change-of-plea hearing in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Garcia revoked the $250,000 bail secured by a Rio Linda residence owned by Fowler's mother, where he had been living under house arrest.

The judge also ordered that a no-bail warrant be issued for Fowler's arrest.

Fowler was scheduled to plead guilty to cultivating at least 1,000 marijuana plants and carrying a firearm in connection with drug trafficking.

He faced a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison on the cultivation charge.

Fowler served seven years in state prison in the 1990s for embezzling $5.1 million from the State Water Resources Control Board, where he worked as an entry-level accountant from 1982 to 1985.

Most of the money has never been recovered.

With his embezzling crime not yet detected, he departed for Arizona, where he lived under the name of William Rice, a Sacramento man who died after being electrocuted on July 6, 1985.

Fowler operated two video rental stores in Arizona and lived the life of a big spender, investigators said.

Authorities caught up with him in 1989, and he was extradited to Sacramento.

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