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MailTribune.com
  • Former FedEx employee gets prison sentence

    He stole cash, other items after rerouting packages
  • A former FedEx employee who stole valuable packages — including more than $200,000 worth of cash payments for illegal marijuana sales — from his delivery truck through an in-house scam will spend more than three years in federal prison for his crimes.
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  • A former FedEx employee who stole valuable packages — including more than $200,000 worth of cash payments for illegal marijuana sales — from his delivery truck through an in-house scam will spend more than three years in federal prison for his crimes.
    Victor Manuel Chavez, 40, was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Medford to 41 months in federal prison and fined $25,000 after pleading guilty in March to single counts of theft from an interstate shipment and money laundering.
    Court documents state that Chavez worked for four years for FedEx in Medford, helping sort packages flown into Medford and route them to delivery trucks driven by Chavez and others.
    Chavez would identify packages he believed contained large amounts of cash — suspected by police to be payments for out-of-state sales of Oregon-grown marijuana — and reroute the packages to his truck, court documents state. He then would take the packages home, police said.
    Other suspected items stolen in this fashion included electronics and sporting equipment, which Chavez often sold to friends, documents state.
    It was Medford police Officer Rob Havice who tripped up Chavez on Jan. 26, 2012.
    While looking for the same marijuana-money packages amid FedEx shipments for seizure by police, Havice noticed a package that had two routing labels — one placed over the other, but not perfectly, Medford police Sgt. Brent Mak said.
    Havice pulled back the label to reveal the original label, and discovered Chavez's system, Mak said.
    Police received a search warrant and found the package contained nearly $30,000 in cash, court records state.
    Three days later, police searched Chavez's garbage and recycling bins and discovered rolls of green FedEx labels and boxes of electronics equipment that FedEx customers recently had reported as stolen, records state.
    "It was good old-fashioned police work," Mak said.
    Chavez also got a little dirt shoveled on him by an ex-girlfriend who told police Chavez would drop off one to three FedEx packages daily at the residence they shared, court documents state. Those packages included everything from cellphones and iPads to golf clubs and jewelry, records state.
    Investigators also discovered a suitcase containing $250,000 in cash that Chavez gave to a friend to hold in exchange for $10,000 cash, court records state.
    Investigators believe most or all of that cash was from the illegal sale of marijuana sent to area pot-growers, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
    Chavez' money-laundering charge stemmed from a detailed review of bank records that unearthed 76 suspicious cash deposits totaling $64,881 between April 2008 and January 2012, court records show.
    During a three-week period just days before Chavez's scheme was discovered, he had deposited more than $19,000 in cash into personal bank accounts, transferring $14,000 from his savings account to a checking account to make a $25,000 payment toward his house mortgage, court records state.
    In all, $263,525 in cash was seized from Chavez and has been forfeited, according to justice officials.
    However, law-enforcement officials conservatively placed the value of the cash and loot stolen in Chavez's scheme at $200,000, according to the department.
    "I think that's super-conservative," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Harper, who prosecuted the case. "It was just hard to track down how much he actually took."
    U.S. District Judge Owen Panner gave Chavez 60 days to report to authorities and serve his sentence.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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