Southern Oregon couple plead guilty to fraud, tax charges

Kenneth Johnson, 62, and Diana Arredondo, 56, who worked at the Super 8 Hotel in Central Point, pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges in U.S. District Court in Medford, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Johnson pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Arredondo pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return, the release stated.

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in jail and a $1 million fine. The maximum penalty for filing a false tax return is 3 years in jail and a $100,000 fine.

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 10, 2014, and Arredondo is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24, both before Judge Owen M. Panner in Medford, the release said.

Johnson was a partner in the Super 8 Hotel in Central Point since it opened in October 2005. He was in charge of the hotel's daily operations and reported the financial figures to his partners in Montana. Johnson hired his girlfriend, Arredondo, as the hotel manager, the release stated.

They worked at the hotel through 2011, prosecutors said.

Johnson allegedly defrauded his partners by providing them false information regarding the cash collected by the hotel. The scheme diverted approximately $500,000 in cash and checks from the hotel for Johnson's personal use, prosecutors said.

In addition, Johnson and Arredondo each filed fraudulent income tax returns, knowingly under-reporting the cash they took from the hotel, the release stated.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Harper. The Internal Revenue Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation also investigated.

— Dave Smigelski

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