Federal authorities say a man from Ocean County faces up to 20 years in prison after he admitted to fraudulently obtaining chainsaws and parts from Amtrak and then selling them for profit.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig says 49-year-old Jose Rodriguez of Brick pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of mail fraud. He had been charged earlier this year with one count of theft from an agency receiving federal funds and one count of theft of government property.

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Rodriguez had worked for Amtrak in North Brunswick, most recently as a senior engineer and repairman, according to Honig.

Her office says,

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. 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.

In addition to the potential time behind bars, Rodriguez also faces up to a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 19th.

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