Amtrak employee admits stealing, reselling equipment from North Brunswick facility

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An Ocean County man admitted to fraudulently obtaining chainsaws and chainsaw parts from his employer and then selling this equipment for personal profit.

Jose Rodriguez, 49, of Brick, pleaded guilty by videoconference on Dec. 13 before U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi to an information charging him with one count of mail fraud, according to information provided by Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig.

 

Rodriguez 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.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Rodriguez had been an Amtrak employee since October 2007, most recently as a senior engineer and repairman, based out of an Amtrak facility in North Brunswick.

Between March 2012 and July 2020, Rodriguez obtained 114 chainsaws, 122 chainsaw replacement bars, and 222 replacement chains from Amtrak, the total value of which was over $76,000, under the false pretense that this equipment would be used for Amtrak projects, but then sold the equipment either on an online auction service or directly to purchasers, according to the statement.

Rodriguez used the U.S. Postal Service to mail the stolen chainsaw and chainsaw parts to purchasers throughout the United States, including purchasers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to the statement.

The mail fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 19.