Former Indiana USPS Customer Service Manager Sentenced to Over 3 Years in Federal Prison for Mail Theft and Bank Fraud Conspiracy

August 23, 2023
INDIANAPOLIS- James Lancaster, 42, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been sentenced to 40 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail theft. A co-conspirator, Jordan McPhearson, of Blue Island, Illinois was sentenced in 2022 to 42 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

According to court documents, James Lancaster was employed as the Manager of Customer Service at the New Augusta Post Office in Indianapolis, Indiana. Between May 11, 2020, and June 23, 2021, Lancaster used his position at the Post Office to steal checks from the mail. Lancaster gave the stolen checks to Jordan McPhearson, sometimes receiving cash in exchange. McPhearson fraudulently negotiated the stolen checks, depositing them into an account belonging to someone other than the intended payee. Occasionally, McPhearson provide stolen checks to an additional co-conspirator, Lavaris Yarbrough, who fraudulently negotiated them.

Throughout the course of the conspiracy, Lancaster stole more than 270 pieces of U.S. mail from the New Augusta Post Office. This mail contained checks from more than 50 different local businesses, including a non-profit dedicated to cancer research. In total, the value of the stolen checks was approximately $1.7 million.

The final defendant, Lavaris Yarbrough will be sentenced in late September.

The United States Postal Service- Office of Inspector General investigated this case with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge, Tanya Walton Pratt and Judge Sarah Evans Barker. The courts ordered that Lancaster and McPhearson be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 3 years following their release from federal prison and pay $88,376.12 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Adam Eakman, who prosecuted this case.

Source: USAO – Southern District of Indiana

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