Crime - Sacto 911

Elk Grove woman sentenced to prison for role in stolen mail scheme

An Elk Grove woman who pleaded guilty to charges related to mail theft has been sentenced to prison and ordered to pay for repairs to damaged mailboxes.

Kerri S. Southwood, 21, was sentenced Friday to two years and eights months in prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a U.S. attorney’s office news release. U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. also ordered Southwood to pay $12,300 in restitution, including $6,526 for repairing U.S. Postal Service mailboxes.

Court documents allege that between Oct. 1, 2014, and Feb. 12, 2015, Southwood and co-defendants Joseph D. Ryan, 21, and Leonard A. Velasco, 24, both of Elk Grove, damaged or destroyed U.S. Postal Service letter boxes and stole U.S. mail in Elk Grove and elsewhere in Sacramento County. After cataloging the stolen mail, the defendants returned to certain postal customers’ mailboxes to steal replacement credit or debit cards sent to those customers, authorities said.

They also used information found in the stolen mail to apply for credit cards and had the cards sent to an address they controlled, authorities said. Posing as the victims, they used the credit and debit cards, PINs, and the victims’ names to obtain money, goods and services, officials said.

Court documents allege that Southwood, Ryan and Velasco possessed mail stolen from more than 1,000 victims and more than 30 credit cards in victims’ names. Due to destruction of the mail receptacles, customers lost mail and mail services.

Ryan is scheduled for trial before Burrell on April 5.

Velasco pleaded guilty in August to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. He is to be sentenced Feb. 5.

The case resulted from investigations by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Elk Grove Police Department.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy