SALT LAKE CITY — A man faces sentencing after pleading guilty to defrauding the government of nearly $200,000 in a postage stamp scam.

Ivan Sanchez, 36, has been held without bail in the Davis County Jail since Feb. 21 on one count of felony theft of government property.

A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City indicted Sanchez Dec. 19 for what Assistant U.S. Attorney Lake Dishman described as an “elaborate ruse over the past 10 years.”

The indictment said Sanchez would have fraudulent checks printed with a legitimate local address and then write checks at nearby post offices for numerous 100-stamp rolls.

“Because he has a local address, the post office will accept what it thinks is a valid, in-state check,” Dishman wrote in an April 7 court document. “After a few days, he leaves the state with thousands of dollars worth of postal stamps. He then fences the postal stamps and repeats the cycle by targeting the post offices in a different location.”

Dishman said the scheme was performed at post offices in Utah, California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas.

U.S. postal agents arrested Sanchez in California Jan. 21 and federal marshals returned him to Utah to be held pending trial.

Prosecutors urged the court to keep Sanchez in jail until trial because they said he is a flight risk.

Sanchez is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby.

On Tuesday, Sanchez’s public defender posted letters to Shelby from Sanchez, his girlfriend and his 10-year-old son.

Sanchez pleaded for being sentenced only for time already served in jail. He said he completed a substance abuse program in the Davis jail, and he outlined for Shelby plans for employment, to pay restitution and take other steps to improve his life.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.

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