3 ex-Oregon state workers sentenced in $6M theft scheme

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OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) — Three former Oregon Department of Transportation workers have been sentenced for a long-running theft and reselling scheme estimated to have cost taxpayers about $6 million.

Ex-employees John Tipton, Frank Smead Jr. and Autumn Arndt, as well as Smead’s wife, Marta Smead, were sentenced to prison time Friday. Tipton received the longest sentence, 12 years, the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office said.

The three worked at the Lawnfield ODOT Maintenance Station in Clackamas.

In 2004, Tipton, a assistant manager, began a business of repairing chainsaws using parts stolen from ODOT, according to the district attorney’s office.

Eventually, all four were involved, buying equipment using ODOT vendor accounts, creating fraudulent invoices, then later selling the items for personal profit. Smead, who was Tipton’s supervisor, and Arndt helped sell items online, the prosecutor’s office said.

All pleaded guilty to various charges including aggravated theft and computer crime. Frank Smead was sentenced to seven years, Arndt to five, and Marta Smead to three years and six months.

The scheme ran until 2020. Transportation officials discovered it during an unrelated investigation.

The court will hold a restitution hearing in the spring for all four defendants, the prosecutor’s office said.

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