A man from Brick, New Jersey, admitted to defrauding Amtrak of $76,000 by stealing and reselling 114 chainsaws, 122 chainsaw replacement bars, and 222 replacement chains from Amtrak, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Jose Rodriguez, a 49-year-old Amtrak employee, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud via video conference in federal court, according to acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Rachael Honig. He was previously charged by complaint in March with one count of theft from an agency receiving federal funds and one count of theft of government property.
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"From in or about March 2012 through in or about July 2020, in the District of New Jersey, and elsewhere, defendant Jose Rodriguez knowingly and intentionally did devise and intend to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud Amtrak of approximately $76,379.02 in money and property, by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises," court documents read.
Rodriguez, who has worked with Amtrak since 2007, ordered the supplies through Amtrak, claiming the equipment was necessary for differing company projects. But he ended up selling them through an online auction site or directly to customers, the court documents said. Rodriguez mailed the chainsaw and chainsaw parts through the U.S. Postal Service to customers all over the country, including in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
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The mail fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the Justice Department said. Rodriguez must also forfeit all purchases bought with the money obtained from the sales and turn over any additional remaining money.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 19, 2022.
The Washington Examiner reached out to Amtrak for comment.