6 sentenced in Anchorage mail theft ring
All six people authorities say were responsible for an Anchorage mail theft ring, including a husband and wife, have been handed federal prison sentences in connection with the scheme.
David Gonzalez, 37, was sentenced this week to serve 72 months in the case, U.S. Attorney for Alaska Bryan Schroder’s office said Friday in a statement. Sara James, 31, also received a 42-month prison term.
The two were “the two lead defendants,” according to prosecutors, in a case which saw all six people involved charged with conspiracy and bank fraud. Other charges against various defendants in the case ranged from aggravated identity theft and possessing stolen mail to passing counterfeit money.
Over the past six months, the four other defendants in the case have also been sentenced:
Brandon Madrid, 29, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Jonathan James, 34, Sara James’ husband, was sentenced to 24 months in prison.
Braden Asbury, 21, was sentenced to one day in prison with a credit for time served.
Karri Embach, 35, was sentenced to time already served.
Prosecutors said Sara James and Gonzales were on release pending state charges for the same conduct while continuing to commit new crimes.
“Sara and Jonathan James would take turns driving Gonzales to go ‘mailboxing,’ stealing mail from rows of mailboxes and looking for valuable checks and credit cards,” prosecutors wrote. “Most of the stolen checks were then altered to make the payee a separate stolen identity that was used by the defendants to negotiate the stolen checks. The investigation further revealed that Sara James and Gonzales would share in the proceeds from negotiating the stolen checks, and exchange drugs for stolen mail and IDs.”
Charging documents filed in the case last year outlined a total of $120,000 which the six defendants either acquired or aimed to acquire from August 2016 through May 2017, in a system based on modifying and cashing checks for larger amounts than their stated values. At one point, the defendants also used counterfeit money to make a purchase on the online classified-ad site Craigslist.
All six defendants will spend five years under supervised release after their prison time, according to Schroder’s office.
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