A Lake Wales, Fla., man was sentenced Tuesday (March 22) to a year in prison for stealing more than $78,000 by selling customers’ campers and recreational vehicles on consignment and keeping the money, The Ledger reported.
Senobio “Sonny” Rodriguez, 65, pleaded guilty to scheme to defraud as part of a plea deal. Prosecutors agreed to drop four counts of grand theft.
Circuit Judge Karla F. Wright also ordered that Rodriguez pay $78,900 in restitution and serve 20 years of probation.
Rodriguez’s requested that his incarceration be delayed for 10 days so he could undergo some testing recommended by his doctor.
Prosecutors objected, saying Rodriguez had plenty of time to take care of such matters prior to accepting the plea deal. The judge denied Rodriguez’s request.
Rodriguez worked as the general manager of Lake Wales RV Consignment Center at 19188 U.S. 27, and was arrested in October 2009, according to an arrest report.
He began taking in RVs and campers in 2007 on consignment and selling them, but once the items sold, Rodriguez wouldn’t pay the original owners, the report states.
The investigation revealed six victims, in Lakeland, Bonifay, Zephyrhills, Sebring and Lake Wales, the report states.
Rodriguez told Polk sheriff’s detectives that he wasn’t trying to steal money from his customers.
He said he “would use the funds from a new sale towards bills instead of paying off his customers,” the report states.
“He would hope to make more money the following month which he could use to pay off his customers he owes money to and ‘catch up,’ but he blamed the economy for the condition of his finances,” the report states.
Detectives also discovered Rodriguez gambled at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, the report states.
Rodriguez was an elite member who spent a large amount of money at this casino, the report states.
He lost $434,934 from 2005 through 2008, and his total bets during that time was more than $4.4 million, the report states.
A condition of Rodriguez’s plea deal is that he must receive treatment for gambling addiction.
He must also follow a lengthy list of conditions as part of his probation.
He cannot spend money on luxury items, which includes expenditures at casinos and spending more than $60 per week dining at restaurants.
He can have access to only one checking account and one credit card, which must be in his name. Each is subject to random inspection by law enforcement agencies.
He is not allowed to serve in any role or job with responsibilities of handling money.
He must provide detailed financial information to his probation officer, including copies of paychecks and tax returns.