Mail and Identity Theft Results in Three and a Half Year Federal Sentence
Southern Oregon Victims the Subject of Identity Theft and Fraud
MEDFORD, Ore. - Michelle Renee Lustig, 45, of Grants Pass, Oregon, was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner, after her convictions for conspiracy to commit mail theft, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. As part of her sentence, Lustig received a mandatory consecutive term of two years in prison required by federal statute where a victim’s identification was possessed or used in committing bank fraud. Lustig was also ordered to pay $12,387.06 in restitution to victims of the fraud. Her co-defendant, Gregory Stephen Brooks, 50, also of Grants Pass, Oregon, was sentenced last month by Judge Panner to 81 months in federal prison.
Between March 2013 and July 2013, Lustig and Brooks stole substantial quantities of mail from the mailboxes of over 400 victims in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Some of the stolen mail was recovered discarded along the roadside, and two boxes of stolen mail, which included financial instruments, were recovered from a U-Haul truck being used by Lustig and Brooks. Additional boxes of stolen mail were recovered from a residence where they both were staying in Grants Pass. The two forged and deposited stolen checks, and used stolen debit and credit cards for making withdrawals from victim bank accounts and fraudulent retail purchases. They also used victims’ personal identification to apply for and obtain credit and debit cards from victim companies. When Lustig was arrested, law enforcement discovered additional stolen mail in her car, including mail previously stolen that was in the process of being returned by postal authorities to earlier victims from the Onion Mountain area of Josephine County.
This case was investigated by the Jackson County Sheriff’s office, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Byron Chatfield.