SACRAMENTO — An East Bay woman has been sentenced to prison for participating in a northern California-wide mail theft and bank fraud scheme, including using a stolen identity to purchase a new car from a Stockton dealership, according to federal authorities.
Desiree Brianna Bello, also known as Desiree Sanchez, 28, of Contra Costa County, was sentenced Monday to four years and nine months in prison for bank fraud and possession of stolen U.S. mail, U.S. Attorney Phillip announced. A.Talbert. She pleaded guilty in August.
According to court documents, between April and August 2020, Bello and co-defendant Richard Beldon Waters III, perpetrated a mail theft and bank fraud scheme throughout Northern California. Waters pleaded guilty in September. He is expected to be sentenced in May.
The scheme involved stealing US mail from residential mailboxes and collecting bank cards, identity documents, financial information, checks and other information to obtain cash and goods from banks and businesses, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California said.
On several occasions, Bello used identity documents and other information from mail theft victims to purchase and lease vehicles from car dealerships. In one instance, on June 25, 2020, she rented a new Hyundai Genesis G80 from a Stockton Hyundai dealership using a stolen ID. She made an initial payment of $7,000 with a check in the name of the fraud victim and submitted a lease application using the victim’s name, date of birth, California driver’s license number and social Security number. Bello was able to drive the new G80, worth around $55,490, off the field.
On two other occasions in May 2020, Bello was arrested in the North with hundreds of stolen mail pieces; in one instance, she was arrested in El Dorado Hills with five large trash bags of mail that she and her co-conspirators had just stolen minutes earlier from a residential compound, the court heard.
The case is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Stockton Police Department, Folsom Police Department, Concord Police Department, Pittsburg Police Department , the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol.
Protect your mail
Use the mail slots inside your post office for your mail or deliver it to a postman.
Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
If you do not receive a check or other valuable mail that you expect, contact the issuing agency immediately.
If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone you do business with by mail.
Do not send cash by post.
Notify your post office of your absence so they can hold your mail until you return.
Report any suspected mail theft to a postal inspector.
Consider starting a neighborhood watch program. By swapping work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can monitor everyone’s mailboxes (as well as homes).
Check with your postmaster for the most up-to-date mailbox regulations, including the availability of centralized or curbside locked mailboxes.
If you see a mail thief at work or think your mail has been stolen, call the police immediately, then call the postal inspectors at (877) 876-2455 (press 3).
— United States Postal Inspection Service
This article originally appeared on The Record: Fraud by mail: a woman gets nearly 5 years in prison for massive fraud