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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Dinuba Man of Bank Fraud, Possession of Stolen Mail and Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — After a three–day trial, a federal jury found Shannon Lester Sorrells, 37, of Dinuba, guilty Thursday of five counts of bank fraud, one count of possession of stolen mail, and one count of aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. The trial was held before United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill.

According to court documents, Sorrells was indicted in July 2014 and charged with theft of mail from neighborhood delivery collection boxes. He was released on his own recognizance and a trial date was set for August 4, 2015. While awaiting trial, Sorrells committed new offenses and was arrested for violating the conditions of his release. A grand jury brought a superseding indictment charging him with bank fraud, possession of stolen mail, and aggravated ID theft, all committed while Sorrells was on pretrial release.

According to evidence presented at trial, Sorrells passed numerous altered and forged checks at federally insured banking institutions in the Central Valley. In some cases, he presented altered checks using his own identity. In other cases, he used the identity of others. In February 2015, while Sorrells was on pretrial release, agents conducted a search warrant at his residence and recovered stolen mail, counterfeit checks and account information on an account he had opened using the identity of a victim.

San Francisco Division Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated, “Protecting the U.S. Mail from theft and criminal misuse is a critical component of our agency's mission. We are proud to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners to fully investigate and prosecute anyone who dares to steal the mail.”

This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Visalia Police Department and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Megan A.S. Richards and Jeffrey A. Spivak are prosecuting the case.

Sorrells is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge O'Neill on January 11, 2016. Sorrells faces a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Updated October 23, 2015

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 1:14-cr-140-LJO