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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tulare County Man Charged with Committing More Mail Theft Crimes While Pending Trial in Mail Theft Case

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment today alleging that Shannon Lester Sorrells, 36, of Dinuba, committed bank fraud and aggravated identity theft while awaiting trial for the original indictment, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to the indictment, in May and June 2014, Sorrells stole three neighborhood delivery collection box units containing United States mail in Visalia. On July 3, 2014, a federal grand jury charged him with three counts of theft of government property and three counts of theft of U.S. Mail. Sorrells was released on his own recognizance, and trial was scheduled for August 4, 2015.

The superseding indictment returned today alleges that between December 2014 and February 2015, Sorrells obtained United States mail containing personal identification and financial information, including checks, of victims without their knowledge. He opened bank accounts in victims’ names and altered the checks and deposited them into the accounts. At times when committing the fraud, Sorrells presented himself as one of the victims whose identities he stole. Sorrells has been in custody since March 5, 2015.

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

If convicted, Sorrells faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the bank fraud charges, five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for theft of mail, and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence for the aggravated identity theft charge. Any sentence, however, would 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. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 
1:14-cr-140 LJO
Updated June 18, 2015