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For stealing hundreds of cheques totaling at least $1.7 million, a former Indiana postal manager received a 40-month sentence

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Indianapolis, Indiana – An Indianapolis-area former customer service manager who admitted to stealing hundreds of business-mailed checks totaling roughly $1.7 million was given a 40-month term in federal prison.

James Lancaster, 42, struggled to hold back tears after U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced the Indianapolis man, adding that his acts called for a serious punishment, including jail time.

“The defendant really has no excuse for his actions,” she told the court after announcing Lancaster’s sentence. Pratt added that Lancaster was in a position of trust at a busy post office but had shown “nothing other than greed and disregard of the victims.”

She also mandated that Lancaster pay more than $88,000 in restitution to his victims, claiming that his deeds had “seriously impacted” neighborhood businesses and damaged public confidence in the USPS.

When he started taking mail containing checks in early 2021, according to the prosecution, Lancaster was the customer service manager at the New Augusta post office branch on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

According to court documents, he stole at least 272 checks totaling nearly $1.7 million from 59 different firms, including charities, a cancer research center, hospitals, utility companies, and car dealerships.

Lancaster entered a guilty plea to mail theft and bank fraud conspiracy.

Jordan McPhearson of Blue Island, Illinois, a co-conspirator, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison last year.

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