PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Cheswick man has pleaded guilty after buying stamps using checks that belonged to a pair of deceased doctors and reselling those stamps at a pawn shop to repay his drug dealer.

The Department of Justice said Thursday that John Martell, 38, pleaded guilty to five counts related to the theft of government property and uttering and possessing false securities.

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Officials said Martell and Holly Lovasik, a former employee of the United States Postal Service, were involved in the stamp theft scheme to pay a debt they owed to their drug dealer.

Using checks that were written on closed accounts and from two deceased doctors that were falsely altered, the coconspirators purchased $34,800 in stamps from 28 different Post Offices in Western Pennsylvania.

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The stamps were then resold for cash, predominantly at a Tarentum pawn shop.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2020. The law provides for a total sentence of 45 years in prison.

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Martell is being detained pending sentencing.