By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Michael Wayne Dietrich, the Keizer Department of Revenue manager accused of producing counterfeit currency in his Keizer home and then tampering with evidence after police secured the location, pled guilty to several charges Tuesday afternoon.
Dietrich, 30, is on probation for three years but will not serve additional jail time. He had served some jail time since his arrest last October.
Dietrich, represented by attorney Paul Ferder, appeared in front of Judge Thomas Hart in Marion County Circuit Court.
Ferder painted a picture of a longtime, steadily employed young man letting curiosity get the best of him.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Ferder said. “Mr. Dietrich had a fascination with currency and whether or not it could be replicated. He took it upon himself to do that. He wanted to see if he could produce bills that could pass the muster. There were others in this endeavor. Some have been arrested, some have not.”
Much of the short hearing consisted of Hart reading statements about the case, then asking Dietrich to confirm or deny the statements. Most of Dietrich’s responses were brief and soft spoken.
One of the exceptions was when Hart asked Dietrich if he was pleading guilty because he was indeed guilty.
“I unlawfully possessed methamphetamine and in my residence I possessed forged instruments,” Dietrich responded.
According to detectives with the Keizer Police Department, officers secured the Modena Avenue home of Dietrich and wife Melissa on the morning of Oct. 9. Dietrich was accused of entering the home via the back door – unbeknownst to officers watching the front of the house – and destroying evidence.
Dietrich was arrested at his home the following afternoon and charged with 52 counts of forgery, 52 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and one count each of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, tampering with physical evidence and first degree burglary.
Counterfeit currency, mainly $20 and $50 U.S. bills, were found when police searched the residence.
On Tuesday, Dietrich pled guilty to five counts of forgery and one count each on the other three charges.
At one point, Hart talked to Dietrich about going into his house last October after police were waiting for a search warrant.
“Police officers told you to not go back in, correct?” Hart asked.
After a quiet yes from Dietrich, Hart continued.
“And you went back in?” the judge asked.
“I went back in, yes,” Dietrich replied.
Hart then asked a follow-up question.
“You went in with the idea of getting rid of things that didn’t look so good, right?” the judge asked.
“Yes,” Dietrich replied.
Ferder noted Dietrich will reside in his parents’ house on Stone Hedge Drive. His father has pledged to keep his guns secured in a locked cabinet, the attorney added.