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Former Indy post office manager, two others charged for stealing $1.7M in checks from mail

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A former Indianapolis post office manager and two Illinois men face federal charges after being accused of stealing nearly $2 million in checks from the mail.

James Lancaster, 40, is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and theft of mail, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Between May 2020 and June 2021, Lancaster used his position as manager of customer service at Indy’s New August Post Office to steal more than 270 checks from the mail, federal prosecutors say.

The checks were from more than 50 local businesses and had a value of about $1.7 million, according to federal prosecutors.

Court papers say Lancaster gave the stolen checks to 30-year-old Jordan McPhearson, of Blue Island, Illinois, and sometimes received cash in exchange.

McPhearson deposited the stolen checks or gave them to 26-year-old Lavaris Yarbrough, of Calumet City, Illinois, to deposit, court papers say.

For their roles in the theft, McPhearson and Yarbrough are charged with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

If convicted, Lancaster, Yarbrough and McPhearson each face up to 30 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  

Lancaster also faces up to 5 years in prison for theft of mail.

“Public service is a public trust, and Government officials who violate that trust to defraud and steal from the public—and those who conspire with them—must be held accountable,” U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers said. “Our office will continue to work closely with the Postal Service and Postal Inspection Service to investigate and prosecute mail theft schemes.”

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