Bookseller pleas in counterfeit Stamps.com meter postage case

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

A New Mexico bookseller has pleaded guilty to possession of counterfeit postage meter stamps and intent to use them in the mail.

The United States attorney in Albuquerque said in a news release that James H. Clark Jr., 61, of Las Cruces, N.M., faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced.

Clark was indicted Feb. 14 and charged with intent to use forged and counterfeit postage meter stamps with an aggregate value of $9,142.98.

In a plea agreement, Clark admitted that on Oct. 19, 2010, he knowingly possessed 1,527 forged and counterfeited postage meter stamps that he created by copying original postage meter stamps that he purchased from Stamps.com, according to the news release.

Clark further admitted that he intended to use the forged and counterfeited stamps to mail packages through the U.S. Postal Service, the release said.

The defendant, who operated bookselling ventures on the Internet, acknowledged that the total face value of the forged and counterfeited stamps was $9,142.98.

In the plea agreement, Clark and the United States stipulated, however, that the U.S. Postal Service sustained $365,827 in losses as a result of his criminal activities.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the prosecutors said Clark will be required to pay restitution to the U.S. Postal Service in that amount.

His sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.