A former Amtrak employee admits he defrauded the corporation out of more than $76,000 worth of equipment.

Jose Rodriguez, 49, of Brick, could spend up to 20 years in prison and put out up to $250,000 in fines for the mail fraud charge, to which he pleaded guilty on Monday, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig.

Between March 2012 and July 2020, Rodriguez, who had been an Amtrak employee since October 2007, allegedly obtained 114 chainsaws, 122 chainsaw replacement bars, and 222 replacement chains from Amtrak, under the false pretense that the equipment would be used for Amtrak projects, officials said.

Instead, officials said, Rodriguez either sold the equipment online through an auction service or directly to purchasers, and used the U.S. Postal Service to mail the fraudulently obtained items throughout the United States.

Rodriguez most recently served as a senior engineer and repairman, based out of a facility in North Brunswick. He was charged in March 2021 with one count of theft from an agency receiving federal funds and one count of theft of government property.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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