Illegal Alien Sentenced to Three Years for Stealing Government Checks from the Mail
Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Jose Martires Carranza-Gonzales, age 27, today to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for receiving stolen property and aggravated identity theft, in connection with stealing government checks from mailboxes and cashing the checks using fake identity documents, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein. Carranza-Gonzales, a Honduran national, will be deported after serving his three year sentence in federal prison.
According to his guilty plea, from at least 2006 through 2007 Carranza-Gonzales and his associates followed postal carriers on their postal routes. After the carriers deposited the mail in apartment panel mailboxes, the conspirators broke into the mailboxes and stole U.S. treasury checks and other government-issued checks. The checks represented the payment of tax returns and other federal government benefits. Carranza-Gonzales and his associates cashed the checks at liquor and convenience stores throughout Maryland using fraudulent identity documents. Additionally, on some occasions, the conspirators altered the payment amount to reflect a greater amount.
For example, on March 15, 2007, Carranza cashed a Treasury check in the amount of $1,620 at a Gaithersburg, Maryland liquor store. Carranza presented an identification card in the name of the true payee, which bore a photograph of Carranza. The card was photocopied during the transaction and provided to law enforcement after the fraud was detected. Carranza’s photo was also taken by a store cashier during the transaction and the store required Carranza to place an inked fingerprint on the check. That fingerprint has been confirmed to be a positive match for the known fingerprints of Carranza.
Judge Quarles determined at sentencing that at least $70,000 in losses was foreseeable to Carranza-Gonzales resulting from his participation in the scheme.
In a related case, Elmin Uliser-Reyes, age 22, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by two years of supervised release for receiving stolen property, aggravated identity theft and illegal reentry into the United States on April 4, 2008. Uliser-Reyes also will be deported after serving his sentence.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Secret Service; the Treasury Inspector General Office for Tax Administration; the U.S. Department of the Treasury/Financial Management Service; the Comptroller of Maryland, Revenue Administration Division; the Social Security Inspector General Office; the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and the Howard County Police Department for their investigative work in these cases. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Hanlon, who prosecuted the case.