Cops: Con man forged hours on time sheets
A former Grand Junction travel agent convicted of theft in 2011 was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of forging signatures on his community service time sheets.
Former Travel Masters owner Rodney Thompson, 55, was ordered in July 2011 to repay $580,575 to five airlines he defrauded in a ticketing scheme that involved Travel Masters collecting fees from customers for a booked flight, then voiding a ticket and replacing it with one the agency purchased for less money. Thompson’s sentence also required him to spend 30 years on probation and at least six years in community corrections and perform 2,400 hours of community service.
On March 4, a soldier at the Army National Guard Facility at 2810 Riverside Parkway said he watched Thompson enter another soldier’s office after Thompson completed six hours of community service at the facility. After Thompson left the building, according to an arrest affidavit, the soldier checked a log of Thompson’s community service hours and found a five-hour entry for the next day, March 5. The entry included what appeared to be a supervisor’s signature, according to the affidavit.
The March 5 entry claimed Thompson worked from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the facility. But a soldier at the facility saw Thompson working as a cashier at Wendy’s, 750 1/2 Horizon Drive, at noon that day.
A review by National Guard Facility staff found four entries in Thompson’s time sheets with signatures that did not match any staff member’s handwriting. The entries were made on Oct. 17, 2012, Dec. 20, 2012, Dec. 21, 2012, and March 5, 2013 and denoted 19 hours of alleged service, according to the affidavit.
When confronted with the time sheets, Thompson at first said a soldier probably made an error. He later told a supervising soldier he falsified at least three or four time sheet entries because he felt pressured to complete his community service hours, according to the affidavit. Thompson wrote in a statement that he added dates and times to time sheets when he thought no one was around and forged a soldier’s signature.
Thompson was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of forgery, attempting to influence a public servant and second-degree burglary and booked into the Mesa County Jail. Mesa County Judge Craig Henderson on Wednesday afternoon set Thompson’s bond at $3,000.
Prosecutors are expected to formally file charges on April 3.