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Georgia man admits his role in theft of mail in Mississippi County and the use of stolen identities to make counterfeit checks for purchases at Wal-Mart stores while he lived in Gulfport


GULFPORT, Mississippi — A 47-year-old Georgia man has admitted his role in the theft of mail in Mississippi and the use of stolen identities to make counterfeit checks for purchases at Wal-Mart stores while he lived in Gulfport.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1OYBw16) Charles Slaton, of Griffin, Georgia, was sentenced to 25 months in prison and three years of probation Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Judge Sul Ozerden also ordered Slaton to help repay over $9,000 for purchases made with stolen IDs.

Slaton pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit mail theft and identity theft.

The bogus checks were used at Wal-Marts in Biloxi, Pass Christian and Crowley, Texas. Slaton's involvement included a trip to the Pass Christian store with a fake check.

Prosecutors have said the conspiracy ran between Oct. 4, 2013, and Nov. 18, 2014, and involved the use of victims' names and bank routing numbers to produce counterfeit checks. The fake checks were used to buy gift cards, prepaid credit cards, electronics, food and clothing, and in at least one instance, motel expenses.

A grand jury indicted Slaton and four others May 20.

Two co-defendants also have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.

Megan Murley, 27, of Marlin, Texas, was ordered to help make restitution at her sentencing in November. Ozerden gave her credit for time served since her arrest in June and ordered three years of probation.

David Elliot Burney, 47, of Grandbury, Texas, will be sentenced April 1. He faces up to five years in prison.

Joe Gonzales Jr., 36, of Fort Worth, Texas, has accepted a plea to a reduced charge of misprision of felony, meaning he was aware of criminal activity but did not report it. He faces up to three years in prison at his sentencing April 14.

A fifth indicted defendant has not been taken into custody, court records show.

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