TRAVERSE CITY COUPLE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTION FRAUD AND MAIL THEFT
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Harold Lewis Oliver Jr., 33, and Peggy Elizabeth Oliver, 33, both of Traverse City, Michigan, were sentenced to prison for cashing forged checks that they had stolen from the United States mail, U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced today. U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff sentenced Harold Oliver to serve four years in federal prison and Peggy Oliver to serve two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Additionally, Judge Neff ordered the Olivers to pay $6,734.77 in restitution. In sentencing Harold Oliver to four years in prison, Judge Neff noted that he had previously incurred a series of state convictions for forgery and theft starting in 1993 that continued virtually unabated until his arrest in December 2010.
In January of this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged the Olivers with possession of stolen mail and eight counts of financial institution fraud after a joint investigation by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. In February 2011, Harold Oliver pled guilty to all of the charges and Peggy Oliver pled guilty to one count of financial institution fraud. Both defendants admitted stealing over $6,000 from financial institutions in Northern and West Michigan by cashing forged checks that had been placed in mailboxes for pickup by the U.S. Postal Service. The Defendants generally forged the checks by writing over the existing payee name and amounts or by chemically washing the checks using a common household product and writing new payee names and amounts on the checks. Financial institution fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and possession of stolen mail carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris O’Connor