Indianapolis, IN - A former customer service manager at a U.S. Postal Service office in Indianapolis has been sentenced to 40 months in federal prison after admitting to stealing hundreds of checks with a total value of about $1.7 million.
James Lancaster, 42, fought back tears as U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt handed down the sentence, emphasizing the severity of his actions and the need for prison time, according to WTHR-TV.
Judge Pratt expressed her disapproval of Lancaster's behavior, stating that he had no valid excuse for his actions. She highlighted that as a trusted employee in a busy post office, he had shown nothing but "greed and disregard for the victims."
In addition to the prison term, Lancaster has been ordered to pay over $88,000 in restitution to the affected businesses. Judge Pratt emphasized that his actions not only caused significant financial harm but also eroded trust in the U.S. Postal Service.
According to court records, Lancaster, who held the position of customer-service manager at the New Augusta post-office branch on Indianapolis's northwest side, began stealing mail containing checks earlier this year. He managed to steal a staggering 272 checks worth approximately $1.7 million from 59 different businesses, including hospitals, utility companies, car dealerships, charities, and even a cancer research center.
Lancaster pleaded guilty to charges of mail theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Jordan McPhearson, an accomplice from Blue Island, Illinois, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison.
The theft of checks from the mail raises concerns about fraud and identity theft. To protect yourself from potential AI fraud and identity theft, it is important to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions.
How to Safeguard Against Fraud and Identity Theft:
- Be cautious of banking scams and educate yourself about potential threats.
- Avoid using outdated payment methods that are more susceptible to theft.
- Stay informed about current USPS warnings and follow best practices, such as mailing checks directly from the post office.
Protecting your personal and financial information is crucial in today's digital age. By staying informed and proactive, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to scams and theft.
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