STAUNTON – A Texas man implicated in an online scheme that bilked a Waynesboro company out of nearly $42,000 pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge Thursday in Augusta County Circuit Court.
Alejandro Olmedo II, 51, of Dallas, was facing three felony charges of obtaining money by false pretenses before accepting an offer to plead to a single misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property.
“He was something of a bit player in an international scam,” said Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin.
Olmedo contended he was contracted by a Thailand company to help move money and said he negotiated a 20 percent cut.
More: Waynesboro woman charged with robbery after Belk attack
In April, Hutchins & Hutchins, a clean-room equipment and supply company in Waynesboro, reported that thousands of dollars in payments it was set to receive were instead funneled to the wrong bank after an email at the Waynesboro company was hacked, the sheriff’s office reported.
The losses totaled $41,430, according to the sheriff’s office.
Olmedo got the three separate payments and sent them to three unidentified women, who in turn funneled the money to Nigeria, according to Martin.
Based on a prior report, Hutchins & Hutchins was doing business with a Mexican firm, Vallen Innovation, when the email account at the Waynesboro company was hacked last year.
More: Verona man gets 52 years for shooting at police
After the hack, Vallen Innovation was told via email by a third party to wire three pending payments into an account at JP Morgan Chase, a search warrant said. Thinking the email originated from Hutchins & Hutchins, the Mexican company did as instructed.
Hutchins & Hutchins does not bank with JP Morgan Chase, the sheriff’s office said.
Martin noted in court that the investigation needed the attention of the FBI, and said the federal agency was expected to pick up the case “which they did not.”
Olmedo, who has been behind bars for seven months since being arrested and extradited from Texas by Augusta County authorities, is expected to be released after being sentenced to 12 months in jail with six months suspended.
Martin said the resolve of the Augusta County’s Sheriff’s Office was on full display during the Olmeda investigation, and said it shows locally that “if you affiliate yourself in any way with these internet scammers, then you’re going to pay.”