Identity thief gets seven-year sentence

A 50-year-old Grants Pass man with a criminal history stretching through four decades will spend nearly seven years in federal prison for his role in a four-month spree in which he used stolen mail to bilk residents, banks and businesses out of more than $12,000.

Gregory Stephen Brooks was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Medford on his convictions for conspiracy to commit mail theft, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Brooks to 57 months in federal prison for those crimes, then added a mandatory a two-year consecutive term as required by a federal statute that applies when a victim's identification was used in committing bank fraud.

Brooks was also ordered to pay $12,387 in restitution to victims of the fraud.

Brooks' extensive criminal history involving thefts, burglaries and drug trafficking dates back to 1981. He was out of prison just two months before he and 45-year-old codefendant Michelle Renee Lustig began their four-month crime spree in March 2013.

They stole mail from more than 400 residents and businesses in Jackson and Josephine counties,

They forged and deposited stolen checks, used stolen debit and credit cards to make withdrawals from the victims' bank accounts and to make fraudulent retail purchases, according to the federal Department of Justice. They also used some victims' personal identification to get bogus credit and debit cards from various companies.

The pair were captured in July.

Lustig is scheduled to be sentenced next month for her role in the crimes.

This case was investigated by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Byron Chatfield.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at

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