The Deschutes County DA has charged a Bend man with extortion for allegedly threatening a landscaper – and legal resident – he’d report him to immigration services.
The charges stem from a reported incident last summer when Redmond resident Cuauhtémoc Cardona performed landscaping work for 61-year old Thomas Schlossmacher of Bend.
DA John Hummel said as partial payment for the service, Schlossmacher gave Cardona his pickup truck.
A dispute arose over the final payment and Schlossmacher sent Cordona a text message that read:
“You need to respond to me, you owe me 1500.00 for the truck, then you can get the title, if no response, I will file a complaint with the small claims in Deschutes County to get my monies and turn you and your family into INS for deportations, your choice,” according to Hummel.
When interviewed by police, Schlossmacher said that he “kinda felt” that Cardona was in the United States unlawfully and his intent in sending the text message was to scare him.
Hummel said Cardona is lawfully a resident of the United States.
In 2016, the Oregon extortion statute was amended to make it unlawful to threaten to report someone’s suspected immigration status to law enforcement in order to compel them to do something, Hummel said.
At the time of the alleged incident, Schlossmacher owned High Desert Contracting, a roofing service in Bend.
Calls to the number listed went to voicemail. Another number listed for Schlossmacher was disconnected.
In a statement, the district attorney lauded Cardona’s work ethic and called the situation “shocking and disheartening.”
“We’ve come a long way in Deschutes County toward being a fully welcoming community, and we have much work to do,” Hummel said. “Holding people accountable who violate the law based on their animus toward others is a small and necessary step in the process.”
Schlossmacher’s first court appearance is March 18th at 9 a.m.
This is a developing story.