News and Press Releases

Former Postmaster Indicted On Embezzlement Charges

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Aug. 25, 2011

TOPEKA, KAN. – The former postmaster of the Whiting, Kan., post office has been indicted on charges of embezzling government funds, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Terri L. Morris, 49, Holton, Kan., is charged with two counts of making a false writing and one count of embezzling public funds. The indictment alleges the crimes took place at various times from Oct. 1, 2008, to Aug. 24, 2010, while Morris was Postmaster in the town of about 200 in Jackson County, Kan.

The indictment alleges that in 2010 investigators with the Postal Service made an unannounced visit to the Whiting Post Office and conducted an audit that showed a shortage of more than $7,000.

If convicted, Morris faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count of making a false writing, and a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the embezzlement count. The U.S. Postal Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney is prosecuting.

OTHER INDICTMENTS

A grand jury meeting in Topeka, Kan., also returned the following indictments:

Pedro C. Franco, 32, Salina, Kan., is charged with bankruptcy fraud.

Franco is charged with one count of making a false declaration in a case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas, one count of making a false statement under oath and one count of using a false Social Security number. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2008 and 2009 in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. The U.S. Trustees Office and the Social Security Administration investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Befort are prosecuting.

Gabriel Salinas, 29, Garden City, Kan., is charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The crime is alleged to have occurred June 17, 2011, in Kiowa County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $5 million. The Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Furst is prosecuting.

Cecelio Olivera-Flores, 23, who is not a citizen of the United States, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the country after being convicted of an aggravated felony and deported. He was found July 27, 2011, in Riley County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Hendershot is prosecuting.

Kylie L. Hartman, 32, Hutchinson, Kan., and Austin Elwell, 26, Hutchinson, Kan., are charged with three counts of unlawful possession of ammunition by users of controlled substances. In addition, Hartman is charged with three counts of unlawful possession of ammunition after a felony conviction. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Aug. 18, 2011, in Hutchinson, Kan.

Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:
– Unlawful possession of ammunition after a felony conviction: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
– Unlawful possession of ammunition by users of controlled substances: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

 

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