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Jeremy Thamert was convicted of three counts of first-degree theft and one count of second-degree theft

A Prineville man and Crook County employee was recently convicted of four counts of theft involving a business he worked for in Baker County.

Jeremy Thamert, the county's facilities director, was convicted of three counts of first-degree theft, a class C felony, and one count of second-degree theft, a class A misdemeanor, following a jury verdict on Oct. 8. He faces a 10-day jail sentence for the second-degree theft and 24 months of probation for the first-degree thefts.

Under conditions of the probation, Thamert must remain in the state of Oregon unless he is granted permission to by a state or county corrections agency. He cannot change employment nor residence without permission and is not allowed to apply for, accept or continue employment that includes the handling of money, unless permission is provided by the probation department. Thamert must also pay $10,865 in fines and restitution.

The charges Thamert faced first came to light in August 2019 when a court document was filed with Baker County Circuit Court, accusing him of multiple thefts that took place in 2017. One count stated that he committed theft of more than $1,000 at an assisted living facility formerly known as the BeeHive Homes of Baker City, between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2017, and a second count involves a similar offense between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2017.

Thamert and his former wife, Traci, were business partners with Robert Whitnah, a Baker City attorney, and his former wife. Because he spent much of his time running a law practice, Whitnah said that Thamert handled the day-to-day operations of the facility. He added that neither spouse was very involved in the business.

Whitnah went on to note that Thamert had also worked for his law office as a private detective, and that he was one of his best friends. He did not expect to encounter any issues with Thamert operating the facility.

The theft was discovered after Thamert left the business in October 2017 to move to Prineville, where he had found employment as a building inspector for Crook County. Whitnah took over the day-to-day operations of the business and said he began to notice some financial discrepancies.

An audit was conducted that revealed a significant amount of money was missing. Exactly how much money was stolen was not entirely clear at the time. Whitnah said the total according to the audit was around $150,000, although an investigation concluded the total was closer to $100,000.

Thamert was arraigned in Baker City Circuit Court in November 2019 and was given a conditional release after he was booked into Baker County Jail.

At the time, the accusations did not affect Thamert's employment with the county. Crook County Counsel Eric Blaine said that Crook County had been made aware of the accusations against him but noted Thamert had not had the opportunity to have the allegations adjudicated, and he had not been convicted of any crime.

"The county takes seriously information concerning the conduct of its personnel," Blaine added. "The county is not involved in any criminal investigation related to these allegations. Further, the county has no current basis to conclude that its employee has committed wrongdoing in his capacity as a county employee."

County officials declined to comment on Thamert's employment status following the conviction because it is a personnel matter.

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