Crime - Sacto 911

Third defendant sentenced in Elk Grove mail thefts

Joseph Daniel Ryan, one of three people arrested in February 2015 in connection with mail thefts in Elk Grove, has been sentenced to two years and eights months in prison.

Ryan, 21, was the last of the three defendants to be sentenced in the scheme that used stolen identities of Elk Grove postal customers to apply for debit and credit cards, and to obtain cash, goods and services, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release. Ryan pleaded guilty in March to bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in the execution of a fraud scheme.

According to court documents, between Oct. 1, 2014, and Feb. 12, 2015, Ryan and fellow Elk Grove residents Leonard A. Velasco, 24, and Keri Southwood, 22, damaged or destroyed letter boxes and neighborhood cluster mailboxes to steal U.S. mail. They used the stolen mail to gather financial and personal identification information for the purposes of fraud.

Ryan and his co-defendants possessed stolen mail of more than 1,000 victims and more than 30 credit cards in victims’ names, authorities said. The destruction of the mailboxes resulted in the loss of mail and mail services for customers, as well loss for the Postal Service.

The other two defendants also pleaded guilty. Velasco was sentenced March 18 to two years and six months in prison. Southwood was sentenced Aug. 25, 2015, also to two years and six months in prison. Each defendant was ordered to pay full restitution to all victims, including $6,526 to the U.S. Postal Service for repair to Postal Service mail receptacles.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S Postal Inspection Service and the Elk Grove Police Department, with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotic and Economic Crimes Investigation Task Force.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy