Artist gets 3 years in prison for role in mail fraud

HELENA (AP) — A Montana copywriter and artist has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy that sent letters to people fraudulently telling them they’d won money or a prize with a return envelope asking for $20 or $30 to pay supposed processing or delivery fees.

Federal prosecutors said 66-year-old Thomas Ressler of Whitehall was paid about $850,000 from March 2012 through September 2016 to design more than 200 fraudulent solicitations for co-conspirators in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

The solicitations were purported to be sent by official-sounding entities and included the name and signature of a fictitious officer of the fictitious company.

Ressler pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud in February and was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon in Helena.