USPS worker stole checks worth $1.7 million in Indiana: feds

A former customer service manager at an Indianapolis post office has been sentenced to prison, authorities said.

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The former customer service manager at an Indianapolis post office has been sentenced to prison after officials said he stole hundreds of checks from the mail.

While working for the U.S. Postal Service, authorities said the man stole more than 270 pieces of mail at the New Augusta Post Office, according to an Aug. 23 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.

The stolen checks were worth over $1.7 million, according to the government’s sentencing memorandum filed in federal court. Authorities said 59 area businesses, including a nonprofit for cancer research, had checks and money orders stolen from the mail.

“For several months in the spring and summer of 2021, these businesses could not reliably mail their checks,” prosecutors said. “ … Many of them had more than one check stolen. Once the scope of the theft was realized, these businesses had to stop using their local post office to mail checks — too many were being stolen.

“In total, several businesses had thousands of dollars taken from the accounts and issued to the wrong payee,” prosecutors continued. “This was nothing short of stealing from these businesses.”

The 42-year-old man was sentenced to three years and four months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail theft, records show.

“I think (he) has been transformed by the experience of this prosecution and I believe he will be a better man going forward,” the man’s defense attorney said in a statement to McClatchy News. “I know he is remorseful for his actions and very sorry for the harm he caused. It’s a terrible shame that his five children will have to endure his absence and do without his financial support for such a long time during their childhoods.”

In court records, authorities said the worker “was not the mastermind of this conspiracy.” Rather, he supplied the checks to a man he met in the spring of 2021 and was sometimes given cash in exchange for the mail, according to the sentencing memorandum.

The co-conspirator, who was sentenced to 42 months in prison, “used a variety of techniques to exchange them for money,” authorities said. This included depositing the checks into other people’s accounts in exchange for some of the funds, selling the checks and creating counterfeits using the banking information at the bottom of the checks, according to court records.

The intended loss of the scheme — including the use of counterfeit checks — is estimated to be around $2.3 million, officials said.

The post office manger told authorities “he frequently provided letters to (the other man) without first opening them to confirm they were checks,” according to court records. “In addition, he had no knowledge that (his co-conspirator) was using the information on these checks to create counterfeit checks.”

One other man involved in the scheme is scheduled to be sentenced in September, officials said.

Kaitlyn Alanis is a McClatchy National Real-Time Reporter based in Kansas. She is an agricultural communications & journalism alumna of Kansas State University. USPS worker stole checks worth $1.7 million in Indiana: feds

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