Strasburg mayor turns himself in on fraud charges

Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 2:54 PM EDT
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The mayor of Strasburg, who recently faced

calling for him to be removed from office over a DUI arrest, faces new charges of food stamp fraud.

Richard Orndorff Jr., who serves as the Strasburg mayor in Shenandoah County, was charged by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Culpeper Field Office on October 17.

According to Virginia State Police, the 55-year-old man is charged with four misdemeanor counts of food stamp fraud and two misdemeanor counts of obtaining money by false pretenses.

The indictments were handed up this week by a Shenandoah County grand jury.

Police say their investigation started on March 15 of this year, with approval from the Attorney General's Office, to look into allegations connected to Orndorff's use of town funds and a state-issued debit card.

The mayor turned himself in on Thursday at the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail.

Virginia State Police continue to investigate.

The case follows

in which Orndorff was charged with DUI after allegedly hitting the Strasburg Community Library on a John Deere Gator ATV.

He was hospitalized with serious injuries after the crash.

In the months afterward, town residents petitioned for his removal from office, especially since police said it was his second DUI offense within five years.

"I was sad, upset, and definitely concerned," said Christie Monahan, who's listed as the plaintiff on the petition. "I want our town to have integrity in the mayor seat. I want our town to look good."

Mayor Orndorff's attorney, Phillip Griffin, sent WHSV a press release at the time, saying the petition is lacking in facts and inviting the public to inspect Orndorff's previous actions as mayor.

"You will find that Rich Orndorff has put the citizens of Strasburg first in his public service life," Griffin wrote in the press release then. "I would ask the citizens of Strasburg to turn a jaundiced eye toward this 'petition' and see it for what it really is, a political witch hunt."

Orndorff appeared before Judge Kevin Black on Oct. 10 in Shenandoah County Circuit Court. After looking through a page of the petition, Black recused himself, and said two of the petitioners were his former clients.

The case is now in the hands of the Chief Judge of the 26th Judicial District who will assign a new judge.

Orndorff is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 19 on the DUI charge.

On Oct. 17, after the indictments were handed up for fraud charges, WHSV reached out Strasburg's town manager, who said town officials are aware of what happened but can't comment at this time.

Strasburg councilwoman Kim Bishop said the indictment was "as much of a surprise to us as it is to everyone else."

According to Mayor Orndorff's attorney, he does not plan to step down as mayor.

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