DENVER, Colo. (KREX) — On March 3, 1847, Congress authorized United States postage stamps. At the time, there were two options. A five-cent stamp with a depiction of Benjamin Franklin and a ten-cent version with George Washington pictured. Today, you could get yourself 445,608 stamps for $258,452.64. You could also get yourself 27 months in federal prison if you choose to steal them like Fanice Reed.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced that Fanice Reed, aka Fanice Jones, was sentenced to over two years in a federal prison for theft of government property following the 45-year-old’s stamp buying scheme.

According to court documents, from February 2019 through March 2020, Reed used counterfeit checks at post offices in Colorado and Texas to obtain large quantities of postage stamps. The counterfeit checks purported to be drawn on the bank accounts of law firms, non-profit groups, or other business entities, but the bank accounts did not exist. When asked to provide personal identification during these transactions, Reed provided false personal identification. On some occasions, Reed told postal employees that her law firm needed the postage for a big mailing that was about to go out. On other occasions, she told postal employees that she was buying the postage on behalf of a non-profit organization so they could send postage inside care packages to U.S. military troops.

“Our country depends on the postal service for many essential functions, including delivery to every residential and business address in the nation,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “We will prosecute fraudsters that target the postal service to help ensure the integrity of this vital institution.”

“Postal Inspectors work each day to protect key components of the U.S. Postal Service,” said Ruth Mendonça, Inspector in Charge of the Denver Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “When fraudsters steal from the postal service, they impact America’s most trusted government institution that delivers mail and packages to over 161 million addresses across the United States. Today’s sentence serves as another example of Postal Inspectors’ commitment to protecting the integrity of the U.S. Postal Service,” said Mendonça.

Following the investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, United States District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello sentenced Reed on January 4. She was also ordered to pay $72,727.99 in restitution and serve a three year term of supervised release following her incarceration.