A Newberg man will spend the next 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to bilking the local company he worked for out of more than $100,000.
Angel Michael Rodriguez II pled guilty to two counts of first-degree theft, a Class C felony, in Yamhill County Circuit Court. In exchange for his plea, seven counts of first-degree aggravated theft and nine counts of fraudulent use of a credit card were dismissed.
In a stipulated sentence, Senior Judge Jamese Rhoades sentenced Rodriguez to one year and a day in prison for his offenses, with a reduction for time already served. The settlement was worked out between his counsel, McMinnville attorney Abraham Hanson, and the prosecutor in the case, Daniel Norris of the Oregon Department of Justice, who agreed to a so-called "downward dispositional departure" of the term of the sentence with agreement of the prosecutor and the other parties involved.
Rhoades also ordered the 41-year-old Rodriguez to undergo three years of post-prison supervision, pay $112,000 in restitution to his employer, $1,300 in attorney fees and fines, to enter a substance abuse program and that he be evaluated for gambling addiction and follow any recommended treatment.
Rodriguez was first indicted in April 2018 by a Yamhill County grand jury after the district attorney accused him of seven counts of first-degree aggravated theft, nine counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and two counts of first-degree theft. The indictment alleged that over the course of more than two years from February 2014 to July 2016, Rodriguez stole more than $100,000 from JW Snowden Properties, owned by Juliana Wood Snowden. The indictment further alleged that beginning in February 2014 and continuing through January of 2018, Rodriguez illegally accessed thousands of dollars through the company's Key Bank credit card.
The indictment also indicated Snowden was at least 65 when Rodriguez began stealing from her company, a tipping point that calls for the DOJ and Norris to get involved. Norris is the leader of the DOJ's elder abuse unit, formed in 2016 by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and funded by the Legislature. The unit works with the state's 36 district attorneys – as well as other law enforcement, prosecutors and community partners – and is charged with investigating and prosecuting individuals who abuse the elderly in any manner, including through what the indictment characterized as "financial fraud."
JW Snowden Properties is both a property management company and a real estate firm that has operated for more than 35 years locally from Lake Oswego to Newberg, according to Virginia Snowden, the owner's daughter. Many of the company's holdings are in the style of Lineage, the Newberg clothing and home décor store on First Street where the shop is on the ground floor and the upstairs features apartments.
Virginia Snowden said she and her brother had taken over more of the day-to-day operations of the company and it was when she was paying some bills that she discovered that "large amounts of money were unaccounted for." She said she suspected that Rodriguez was stealing from the company, where he had worked at for more than 10 years doing everything from "digging holes to collecting rent checks," and reported it to the police.
"It was a huge effect on the entire family that a person that we considered a confidant would do something like that," she said.
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