Three sentenced in mail, check fraud investigation

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Three people have been sentenced in federal court in Anderson for conspiracy to commit fraud involving theft of mail and counterfeited or altered checks. Shannon D. Ashworth, age 33, Wendy D, Sisk, age 45, and Danny Buford, age 47, all of Anderson, were sentenced for conspiracy to commit fraud, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371.

United States District Judge Timothy M. Cain of Anderson sentenced Ashworth to 60 months imprisonment, Sisk to 24 months imprisonment, and Buford to 18 months imprisonment. Collectively, they were ordered to pay over $40,000 in restitution, and placed on three years of supervised release.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson City Police Department, and other local agencies had undertaken a long-term investigation into the theft of mail in and around Anderson County.

It was discovered that an organization existed that regularly stole mail from residential boxes, sorted the stolen mail for checks and personal identifying information, created, altered or counterfeited checks, and created false identification documents.

Multiple counterfeited and altered checks were passed throughout the upstate. Most of the fraud was conducted in an effort to obtain funds to purchase methamphetamine.

Sisk was a leader of an organization of more than 20 individuals. She served as a clearing house for stolen mail and aided other co-conspirators in creating and cashing counterfeit checks. Ashworth stole mail and cashed multiple counterfeit checks throughout the upstate. He also made counterfeit identification documents. Danny Buford stole mail and also cashed checks for the conspiracy.

The case was investigated by agents of United States Postal Inspection Service, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Anderson City Police Department, and other local law enforcement agencies. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.