Conspirator in Scheme to Steal Mail from U.S. Postal Service Collection Boxes Sentenced to Prison

September 18, 2009

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Neira Maradiaga-Menjivar, age 23, of Hyattsville, today to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to steal mail, mail theft and possession of a stolen mail key, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to her guilty plea, on June 4, 2008, Postal Inspectors executed a search warrant at Maradiaga-Menjivar’s apartment after receiving information that the three women using the apartment had a mail master key and were using it to steal mail from collection boxes. Postal Inspectors found Maradiaga-Menjivar and Elida Loaeza-Loaeza in the apartment, along with a third woman. From the apartment balcony Postal Inspectors recovered a black trash bag containing 55 pieces of rifled mail, including checks and other financial instruments, which had not yet been processed by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). In addition, the Postal Inspectors found stolen mail in the kitchen, dining room and living room of the apartment. All of the recovered items were deposited in USPS blue collection boxes in or near Langley Park and Hyattsville, which could be opened using the same master key. During the search, Maradiaga-Menjivar called co-conspirator Henry Argueta-Martinez and asked him to bring back the mail key. Postal Inspectors later accompanied Argueta-Martinez to his residence and recovered the master mail key from a dresser drawer.

Investigation showed that several of the stolen checks were altered and made payable to co-conspirators Loaeza-Loaeza and Argueta-Martinez. Bank surveillance photos show the co-conspirators cashing several of the stolen and altered checks.

The conspiracy involved approximately 251 individual and 13 corporate victims.

Loaeza-Loaeza, age 29, of Hyattsville, pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Argueta-Martinez, age 28, of Silver Spring, Maryland, also pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 2, 2009 at 9:00 a.m.

All three defendants have agreed that they are subject to deportation upon completion of their sentence and have agreed not to contest any removal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for its investigative work and commended Assistant United States Attorneys Michael R. Pauze, Christen A. Sproule and Stacy Dawson Belf, who prosecuted the case.



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