A Fairfield tile installer who stole blank postal money orders he found while putting in replacement flooring at the post office in Unity and then cashed them for a total of $485 was sentenced Tuesday to the time he’s been held in detention plus one year of supervised release.

The sentencing hearing for Brandon J. Knox, 36, of Fairfield, was held at U.S. District Court in Bangor.

Knox had been held for about 35 days on the federal charge.

Magistrate Judge John C. Nivison also ordered Knox to pay restitution of $485 and a special assessment of $25.

Knox had pleaded guilty Oct. 26, 2017, to theft of postal money orders, a misdemeanor offense, and had been free on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

However, he was most recently arrested Dec. 19, 2017, after he allegedly violated conditions of bail. The government said Knox failed to participate in substance abuse treatment, failed to report for drug testing and failed a drug screening.

Knox was represented by attorney James S. Nixon of the Maine Federal Defender’s Office who later told the court he learned Knox had no funds to pay for the treatment.

In a filing seeking Knox’s release to attend substance abuse treatment at Crisis and Counseling in Augusta, Nixon noted that the pre-sentencing report prepared by the U.S. Probation and Parole indicated the guideline sentence for the offense was between zero and six months.

“Additionally, the (pre-sentencing report) opines that Mr. Knox may have ‘struggled with substance abuse for several years …. (yet) has never received any type of treatment,'” Nixon wrote.

Nixon’s motion was granted.

According to court documents filed in the case, Knox stole a clear vinyl pouch containing three blank money orders when he worked as a subcontractor installing replacement flooring at the facility from April 28 to May 2, 2017.

The government’s version of the offense, filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Moore, says Knox converted the money orders to his own use, cashing one for $110 and one for $165 on May 1, 2017, and another for $210 on May 2, 2017, all at the Waterville post office.

Moore also alleged that Knox had tried to cash the third money order at the Fairfield post office, but a clerk there refused because it was faded. That clerk also recorded Knox’s name and license number.

A clerk at the Waterville post office told investigators that Knox said the money orders had been found in his late grandmother’s home in Alaska.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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