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Man accused of stealing $150K from employees

A Forest Grove, Ore., man is accused of stealing more than $150,000 while working as an on-site manager at a Waste Connections facility in Vancouver.

Antonio Villa-Rodriguez, 32, made an in-custody first appearance Thursday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree theft, 10 counts of first-degree identity theft and 10 counts of forgery. Judge Bernard Veljacic granted him supervised release. Arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 19, according to court records.

Villa-Rodriguez was an on-site manager for staffing company Leadpoint Business Services, which oversaw recyclable material sorting line workers at the facility, 6601 N.W. Old Lower River Road, according to an affidavit of probable cause. He was responsible for distributing paychecks once per week to employees, who would sign a paycheck sign-out sheet after picking them up.

Paychecks that weren’t delivered were supposed to be kept in a locked safe for mail and hand delivery. Employees were also expected to fill out daily sign-in sheets that would often later be marked with the number of hours they worked, the affidavit says.

Beginning in June 2017 and lasting over two years, Villa-Rodriguez deposited 344 checks with his subordinates’ names into his own bank account, according to the affidavit. The checks, worth $155,690, were directed to 114 different payees.

Written on the back of the checks were phrases to the effect of, “Pay to the order of Antonio Villa-Rodriguez. For electronic deposit only at (JPMorgan) Chase.” Vancouver police detectives contacted numerous current and former employees, all of whom said that they did not give Villa-Rodriguez permission to deposit the checks in their names to his account, the affidavit says.

Several paychecks were erroneously issued to former employees after their names were forged on daily sign-in sheets, according to the affidavit. Once the checks were issued, forged signatures would also appear on the back of the slips.

Villa-Rodriguez’s former office assistant told investigators that she personally witnessed him alter sign-in and sign-out sheets along with other company documents. When she confronted him about it, Villa-Rodriguez said it “all worked out in the end,” the affidavit says.

The office assistant also spoke to him about altering sign-out sheets that indicated that employees had collected their checks, according to court records. Villa-Rodriguez allegedly said that he was delivering the checks in person to limit postage costs.

Villa-Rodriguez had two bank accounts, including one with JPMorgan Chase, which almost exclusively contained money collected from the forged checks. While the thefts were being committed, purchases from the account included a brand new Toyota Tacoma pickup and tens of thousands of dollars in retail purchases, the affidavit says.

“It is clear, based on the records listed, that Villa-Rodriguez used the fraudulently obtained paychecks to fund a lifestyle that he otherwise couldn’t have afforded,” the affidavit reads.

Villa-Rodriguez was arrested Wednesday night.


Source: https://www.columbian.com

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