A neglected printing machine and nearly 200 blank money-order forms caught the eye of Marc Saunders sometime after he started working at the Postal Service's New Lisbon, NJ, branch in 2014. Four years later, Saunders has been hit with a five-year probation and ordered to pay the agency back almost $100,000 after he pleaded guilty to orchestrating a scheme in which he printed fraudulent money orders and gave them to others to cash, the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports. Saunders' accomplices, who helped him find people to cash the money orders (including residents of homeless shelters), fared worse on the prison front: Anthony Bell, 39, was given a year and a day behind bars and a $22,400 restitution bill; Eugene Bowen, 36, a 20-month prison sentence and $18,500 restitution; and Andre Sutton, 39, a nine-month sentence and $4,700 restitution.
An affidavit filed in Camden federal court by David Bannan, a special agent for the USPS' Office of Inspector General, details how the New Lisbon branch phased out the old money-order machine in 2013. Because it couldn't fit inside the office safe, however, the New Lisbon postmaster placed it inside a cabinet; it remained there when she moved to another branch later that year. The agent details his "evidence pointing to an inside job," noting Saunders ran his scheme between August 2015 and December 2016. Most of the money orders were cashed in the Philly area, as well as in Knoxville, Tenn. Once the stolen money orders started to emerge, Bannan traced the serial numbers to the New Lisbon office, where the machine had gone missing. Investigators then tied people who did the cashing to the suspects via their Facebook connections and cellphone info. (Read more US Postal Service stories.)