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Saturday, November 17, 2018
HomeAlaska NewsYou’ve got mail theft

You’ve got mail theft

SIX-PACK OF THIEVES BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

Six Anchorage residents were sentenced for their involvement in a mail theft ring that went on for nearly a year in and around Anchorage, said U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder. Two ringleaders were sentenced this week, the last of six arrested and convicted in the fraud fest.

Two of the six were out of jail awaiting trial on similar charges when they committed more of these types of crimes in the Anchorage bowl.

Hawkins

Sara James, 31, was sentenced Thursday to serve 42 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession of stolen mail, and passing counterfeit money.

David Gonzales, 37, was sentenced earlier earlier last week to serve 72 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

From August 2016 to May 2017, Sara and Jonathan James conspired with Gonzales and others to steal mail and pass stolen checks with stolen IDs at banks around Anchorage. They also recruited others into their mail theft ring.

According to the U.S. Attorney, the two Jameses would take turns driving Gonzales from mailbox to mailbox, on the hunt for checks and credit cards.

Gonzales

Most of the stolen checks were then altered to make the payee a separate stolen identity that was used by the defendants to negotiate payment.  Sara James and Gonzales would share in the proceeds from negotiating the stolen checks, and trade drugs for stolen mail and IDs.

Sara James and Gonzales were out of jail and cruising for more mail to steal while awaiting state charges on similar crimes.

In August 2017, federal charges were brought and included the state charges. The feds added other co-defendants.  Sentenced as part of this investigation:

  • Jonathan James, 34, sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession of stolen mail, and passing counterfeit money;
  • Brandon Madrid, 29, sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft;
  • Braden Asbury, 21, sentenced to one day in prison (credit for time already served), followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy and bank fraud; and
  • Karri Embach, 35, sentenced to time already served and five years of supervised release, for conspiracy and bank fraud.

Anchorage and Palmer police, as well as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Criminal Investigations Unit of the State of Alaska Department of Revenue assisted in the case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aunnie Steward.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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