Cheswick PA Man Sentenced to Prison for Stamp Theft Scheme Perpetrated to Pay a Drug Debt 

PITTSBURGH, PA – A former resident of Cheswick, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced in federal court to 18 months’ imprisonment and a three-year term of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $37,590 in restitution to the United States Postal Service, on his conviction of conspiracy, theft of government property and uttering and possessing false securities, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan imposed the sentence on John Martell, 39.

According to information presented to the Court, between approximately April 23, 2018 and June 11, 2018, Martell and his codefendant, Holly Lovasik, who was a former employee of the United States Postal Service, engaged in a stamp theft scheme in order to pay a debt they owed to their drug dealer.

The coconspirators purchased $34,800 in stamps from approximately 28 different Post Offices in the Western District of Pennsylvania, using checks that were written on closed accounts and checks that belonged to two deceased doctors that were falsely altered, completed and signed.

Martell and Lovasik then re-sold the stamps for cash, predominantly at a pawn shop in Tarentum, PA. The court was further informed that, in addition to the stamp theft, the United States Post Office incurred $2,790 in check surcharges, for a total loss of $37,590.

Assistant United States Attorney Christy C. Wiegand prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Martell.