OR revenue worker arrested for counterfeiting

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 11 at 8:34 AM

KEIZER, Ore. -- A supervisor for the Oregon Department of Revenue was arrested Thursday for making and distributing counterfeit U.S. currency, police said.

Police received a tip three weeks ago that Michael Wayne Dietrich was making counterfeit bills. Officers contacted him Wednesday night, but he refused to let them search his home, according to Keizer police Capt. Jeffrey Kuhn.

"Investigators removed everyone from the residence, secured it and posted an officer at the location while an affidavit for a search warrant was written," Kuhns said.

But Dietrich and his wife, Melissa, used a mobile app to access the cameras in their house and sneaked in without the posted officer's knowledge to destroy some of the evidence, Kuhns said.

When investigators returned with a warrant, they found counterfeit $20 and $50 bills, equipment they believe was used to make the bills, and evidence suggesting additional bills had been shredded, Kuhns said.

He said police also found methamphetamine in the house. Melissa Dietrich was arrested for meth possession and possession of a forged instrument. Further charges were possible.

Michael Dietrich eluded investigators until Thursday, when he returned to his home and a neighbor called police. He was arrested without incident on charges related to counterfeiting and tampering with evidence. 

Dietrich faces 52 counts each of forgery and possession of a forged instrument, and one count each of evidence tampering, bruglary and meth possession.

"It is important to note investigators have no information or reason to believe Michael Dietrich’s alleged criminal activity has any relation or connection to his place of employment, the State of Oregon Department of Revenue," Kuhns said.

Anyone with information about Dietrich or the investigation was asked to call Keizer police.

Oregon Department of Revenue spokesman Bob Estabrook issued the following statement after Dietrich's arrest:

Mr. Dietrich is absent from work today without permission and is therefore on unapproved leave without pay. His authority to access department information systems has been terminated and the department-issued electronic devices that had been in Mr. Dietrich's possession have been secured by police. The department is assisting law enforcement in their investigation in any way that we can.

As a unit supervisor, Mr. Dietrich had interaction with a number of our employees. His role, and those of the clerical staff he supervised, do not include the handling of cash. As local police indicated in a separate release, we are not aware of a link between Mr. Dietrich's employment and the allegations against him.

When notified by law enforcement of the criminal investigation, Revenue began an internal investigation of Mr. Dietrich's work activities to identify any potentially inappropriate access to our information assets. Our focus is safeguarding the confidential information with which the public has entrusted us.

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KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.

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