Mail Theft

The following three investigations from 2010 involved various means and motives for mail theft, but all ended alike—in prison sentences.

In February 2010 a judge sentenced nine members of a Georgia mail theft ring to a combined total of more than 55 years in prison and 45 years of supervised release and ordered to pay nearly $3.4 million in restitution. Postal inspectors identified the thieves after tracking complaints from individuals who failed to receive checks that had been mailed to them. The thieves had stolen checks from the mail and negotiated them for cash and goods at retail stores and casinos. They were found guilty of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

A Fort Worth, Texas, man was sentenced to five years and three months in prison and five years’ supervised release after pleading guilty to bank fraud in 2010. The man, and eight co-defendants, had used bank routing and account numbers stolen from business mail to create counterfeit payroll checks. They also used counterfeit identification to open bank accounts. Once opened, they deposited the counterfeit checks into the accounts, and then withdrew cash. If that was not enough, the case involved a host of other criminal offenses, including producing and distributing methamphetamine, counterfeiting U.S. currency, burglarizing homes and cars, and illegally carrying weapons. Inspectors identified 400 victims and more than $320,000 in losses in the groups’ schemes.

A judge sentenced a Minnesota man to six years in prison and five years of supervised release in 2010. The man was a mail thief who was also ordered to pay $154,122 in restitution. The thief stole mail to gain access to individuals’ personal information. Using that information, he opened bank and credit card accounts in their names but diverted the mail to addresses he controlled so the victims would be none the wiser. Postal inspectors found that he had stolen the identities of at least 250 individuals.