Six admit guilt in mail theft and counterfeiting scheme in Upstate New York

Federal prosecutors say six people have admitted conspiring in a mail theft and counterfeiting ring that netted about $141,000 in central New York.

U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian says the ring was based in Charlotte, N.C, but stole corporate checks from mailboxes of businesses in Syracuse, Binghamton and Oswego.

He says the ring leaders enlisted homeless people, drug addicts and others to cash the checks after the names of payees had been altered.

The ring operated from November 2010 until June 2011.

Five pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and commission of mail fraud. A sixth pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and possession of stolen mail. Each could be sentenced to up to thirty years in prison and fined up to a million dollars.