Woman gets prison for ID theft targeting mailboxes across Northern California, prosecutors say

A woman was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento to 3 1/2 years in prison for bank fraud, identity theft and holding fraudulent U.S. Postal Service keys, prosecutors said.

Toni Tinay, 24, of Oakley had broken into residential mailboxes throughout Northern and Central California by using counterfeited U.S. Postal Service keys between February and August 2018, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. Tinay and at least one accomplice stole bank cards, personal and business checks, and government-issued IDs from mailboxes, the news release said.

Tinay then used the cash she withdrew from illegally activating the bankcards to make purchases at retail stores, officials said.

She and the accomplice were arrested in August 2018 in Granite Bay, where deputies found stolen mail and at least four counterfeited U.S Postal Service keys, which they had planned to use to steal more mail, officials said.

U.S. Mail master keys are used to open communal mailboxes such as those found in apartment complexes. Punishment for fraudulently using a USPS master key can be as high as 10 years in prison, according to federal law.

In addition to her prison sentence, Tinay was must serve three years of supervised release and pay $2,936 in restitution to victims, officials say.

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Elizabeth Shwe, from Princeton University, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee interested in politics and immigration. She grew up in New Jersey.