News that the husband in the "staged deaths" case is rich shocks relatives.
People who know South Bay resident Michael Richardson -- who faces multiple counts of sex with his teenage niece and is a "person of interest" in the deaths of his wife and mother-in-law -- are wondering how the auto shop owner and escaped convict could be worth $10 million. The women's bodies were found June 29 outside the wreckage of a car found down an embankment near Lakeside. Law enforcement said that the "accident" was staged.
Prosecutors cited the $10 million figure in court Tuesday when a prosecutor argued against bail for the 57-year-old, who was convicted of robbery with a weapon in 1976 in North Carolina and escaped from prison in 1982. He was later caught in San Diego and sent back to prison in 2000.
Richardson pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case involving his niece.
A family member of Richardson's, Chris Holland, said it was "unbelievable" that Richardson had that kind of money and when asked where it might have come from, said, "Don't have a clue." Holland also said he thinks everybody in the family was surprised to learn about the fortune.
Richardson owned an auto shop in Poway where NBCSanDiego was told he leased the property. Prior to that, he worked as a manager at what was then Scripps Automotive in Poway. One man who worked alongside him there said this latest revelation is as stunning as learning about the deaths of his family members, the allegations of molestation and Richardson's prison escape.
"He never seemed like he had that kind of money," former co-worker Paul Jackson said Wednesday.
A check of the value of the Richardson's home indicates that it is assessed at a little more than $280,000.
A deputy district attorney said there was nothing to indicate criminal activity with regard to Richardson's assets, but she would not give details as to the source of the money. She did, however, say that in the last week, Richardson had moved a large amount of money -- in excess of $500,000-- from a bank account.
For its part, the sheriff's department said it would not give out information about a person's financial situation.