Crime - Sacto 911

Woman admits using stolen mail to defraud banks, credit unions

A 27-year-old Roseville woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding banks and credit unions in a scheme using information gleaned from stolen mail.

Ashley Nicole Leyba, also known as Ashley Nicole Schlichting, pleaded guilty Friday to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and possession of stolen mail, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The identity theft scheme was carried out between Sept. 15, 2016, and Feb. 3, 2017, according to court documents. Leyba obtained stolen mail and opened credit card accounts and lines of credit using the financial information found in the stolen mail.

Leyba created notebooks that she labeled “THINK BIG” and “STAY OUT” to organize the names, addresses and personal information of the mail theft victims, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release.

The plea agreement indicates that Leyba used the credit cards to purchase goods at Walmart stores in Sacramento and Rocklin, Kohl’s in Citrus Heights, Foot Locker in Roseville, Lowe’s in Rancho Cordova and other stores in Sacramento and Placer counties. She was captured in surveillance photos during several of the fraudulent transactions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Leyba, who was arrested Feb. 13, admits in her plea agreement that while in custody, she instructed associates to destroy stolen identification and financial information that were in her residence. One associate was arrested for drunken driving and during a search of the vehicle, authorities found some of the stolen mail that Leyba sought to have destroyed.

Leyba is scheduled for sentencing June 23 by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Sacramento County Probation Office and the Citrus Heights Police Department.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy