Man defrauded ex-employer of $500K, detectives say

A former Strasburg man has been charged with defrauding a Lebanon County business of more than a half-million dollars.

Robert W. Vanderwende, 54, was an independent contractor with Umberger's of Fontana in South Annville Township when between November 2009 and May 2010 he allegedly diverted 23 or more pieces of agricultural machinery, including skid loaders and tractors, to a Lancaster County dealer, according to the Lebanon County Detective Bureau.

Vanderwende was directly paid more than $187,000 which he converted to his own use, detectives said Thursday. He also claimed he was paying various obligations of Umberger's with their own money and sought reimbursement, detectives said.

It is estimated Umberger's suffered a loss of more than $500,000 as a result of the alleged scheme, detectives said.

Vanderwende was charged with theft and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Detectives said he may be living in Lancaster County or North Dakota.

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