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Court orders former SD postmaster to pay $353,440 in defrauding case

ARLINGTON, S.D. -- The former postmaster in the eastern South Dakota town of Arlington has been ordered to repay about $353,440 for several ways he was stealing money from the U.S. Postal Service.

Craig Christeson, who ran the post office there from 2010 until 2015, was charged with defrauding the postal service.

As postmaster, Christeson devised a scheme whereby he falsely certified receipt of spoiled postage meter strips and also printed and cashed money orders for himself.

In June of 2016 in federal court, Christeson pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,970.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office then brought a civil action against Christeson to recover more funds and also sought a civil penalty, plus three times the amount of damages the government sustained. The civil judgement against Christeson has now been approved by federal judge Karen Schreier of Sioux Falls who noted that the fraud was intentional, and that it continued over multiple years.