United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the United States of America (United States), brought this
action against defendant, Craig John Christeson, for
violation of the False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §
3729-3733), common law fraud, unjust enrichment, payment by
mistake, and breach of the fiduciary duty of loyalty. Docket
1. Plaintiff now moves for summary judgment. Docket 5.
undisputed facts,  viewed in the light most favorable to the
defendant, are as follows:
May 2000 through March 2015, Christeson was employed by the
United States Postal Service (USPS). Docket 7 ¶ 1. From
January 2010 until January 2014, Christeson was the
postmaster in the Madison, South Dakota post office.
Id. In January 2014, he became the postmaster in the
DeSmet, South Dakota post office. Id.
USPS sells postage meters to permit customers to print out
their own postage. A spoiled postage meter strip occurs when
an envelope is put through a postage meter, but the postage
strip generated is not used. Id. ¶ 3. When this
occurs, a customer may bring the spoiled postage meter strip
to the post office and receive a credit or refund.
Id. As postmaster, Christeson was in charge of
verifying and issuing credit or refunds to customers for
spoiled postage meter strips. Id. ¶ 2.
June 26, 2013, and March 27, 2015, Christeson used his role
as postmaster to falsely certify that he had received spoiled
postage meter strips from customers when he had not.
Id. ¶ 4. Christeson would then print out a
money order in the name of the customer, cash the money order
at the post office, and keep the money for himself.
Id. During this time period, at the Madison post
office and DeSmet post office, Christeson falsely certified
that he had received approximately sixty-one spoiled postage
meter strips. Id. ¶ 5. Because of
Christeson's actions verifying false claims for spoiled
postage meter strip refunds, and issuing and cashing money
orders, the USPS suffered damages totaling $8, 970.71.
Id. ¶ 10.
pleaded guilty to the criminal offense of Theft of Government
Property (18 U.S.C. § 641) for knowingly submitting
fraudulent claims for spoiled postage meter refunds to the
USPS. Id. ¶ 11. He was sentenced to a term of
probation and restitution was ordered payable to the USPS in
the amount of $8, 970.71. Id. This civil action was
then commenced against Christeson. Docket 1.
has failed to file an answer to the complaint and is in
default. The United States moved for summary judgment and
Christeson failed to respond. The deadline for a response has
judgment is appropriate if the movant “shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party can meet this burden by
presenting evidence that there is no genuine dispute of
material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-23 (1986). To avoid summary judgment, “[t]he
nonmoving party may not ‘rest on mere allegations or
denials, but must demonstrate on the record the existence of
specific facts which create a genuine issue for trial.'
” Mosley v. City of Northwoods, 415 F.3d 908,
910 (8th Cir. 2005) (quoting Krenik v. County of Le
Sueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995)).
judgment is precluded if there is a dispute in facts that
could affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). For purposes of a
summary judgment motion, the court views the facts and the
inferences drawn from such facts “in the light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion.”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 588 (1986).