Ex-Indiana Postal Worker Sentenced For Stealing $1.7M In Checks

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A former Indiana postal worker has been sentenced to over three years in prison. According to Fox News, the man pleaded guilty to stealing at least 272 mailed checks that amounted to $1.7 million.

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More Details Regarding The Former Indiana Postal Worker’s Sentencing

According to the outlet, 42-year-old James Lancaster reportedly apologized for his actions ahead of his sentencing Wednesday. Then, he shared that he is “focused on turning his life around, as per WTHR.

“My actions not only damaged my character but everyone involved. I want everyone to know I am truly sorry for everything that’s happened.”

The outlet adds that Lancaster’s defense attorney, Sam Ansell, also requested that the judge “offer Lancaster mercy” by sentencing him to probation rather than jail time.

“This is one of those unusual situations where the sentencing guideline is more than what’s necessary,” Ansell explained as per WTHR. “I think in this case, the harm that’s going to come to him and his family is significant … A prison sentence is not necessary. Probation would be adequate.”

Despite this, Fox News reports that Lancaster. was sentenced to 40 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on Wednesday. Additionally, the outlet reports that after the sentencing, Judge Pratt explained that Lancaster has “no excuse for his actions.”

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The judge added that Lancaster, a former Indiana U.S. postal customer service manager, showed “nothing other than greed and disregard” for his victims.

“The defendant really has no excuse for his actions,” Judge Pratt explained, as per WTHR. “Mr. Lancaster was in a position of trust at a busy post office (but showed) nothing other than greed and disregard of the victims.”

Ultimately, Judge Pratt added that Lancaster’s alleged actions “seriously impacted” businesses whose checks were confiscated in the scheme and eroded the public’s trust in the U.S.P.S.

Furthermore, the judge ordered Lancaster to serve three years of “supervision” and pay more than $88,000 in restitution to the affected victims, as per WTHR.

More Information Regarding The Suspect’s Alleged Scheme

According to Fox News, the former New Augusta, Indianapolis, U.S. postal worker allegedly began thieving mail that contained checks in 2021. The outlet reports that court records confirm Lancaster stole over 272 mailed checks. The checks were reportedly worth $1.7 million dollars and originated from 59 businesses.

Additionally, the businesses reportedly included hospitals, utility companies, car dealerships, charities, and a cancer research center.

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Robb Fine, a business owner whose company lost three checks that amounted to $21,000 in the scheme, shared his thoughts on the matter as per WTHR.

“The whole thing was really horrible. Unless you own a business, it’s hard for anyone to understand what the business interruption is like, to shut down your checking account. It took two people working two whole weeks to get things worked out, and then it took months working with our bank. It’s a huge problem when something like this happens.”

Lancaster ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of mail theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Meanwhile, WTHR reports that two co-conspirators were also discovered in the case’s investigation.

According to the outlet, the co-conspirators allegedly manipulated the checks. Then, they sold them online for a profit.

Fox News reports that one co-conspirator, Jordan McPhearson of Illinois, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud last year. McPhearson has since been sentenced to 42 months in federal prison. According to WTHR, the second co-conspirator, Lavaris Yarbrough, will be sentenced in September.

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