Grants Pass pair charged with felony mail theft and bank fraud

A Grants Pass pair face federal charges for allegedly stealing mail from 400 victims in Jackson and Josephine counties and opening fraudulent bank accounts with the stolen information.

Gregory Stephen Brooks, 49, and Michelle Renee Lustig, 44, are charged with felony counts of conspiracy to commit mail theft, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to Oregon U.S. Attorney's Office.

The charges involve the theft of mail from approximately 400 victims beginning in March 2013.

According to the federal indictment, Brooks and Lustig would use personal information gathered from stolen mail to open bank accounts and attain debit cards. They would then make cash withdrawals, sometimes up to $675.

In addition, Lustig used check-making software to print counterfeit checks using the victims' information.

The two also withdrew cash from various ATMs throughout Grants Pass, officials said.

Brooks was arraigned on the charges in Medford's U.S. District Court. His trial is set for Nov. 19.

A warrant has been issued for Lustig's arrest. The U.S. Attorney's Office is asking anyone who has information about her whereabouts to contact Grants Pass police or their nearest law enforcement agency.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is working with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

— Chris Conrad

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