News and Press Releases

Leader of Gaffney Mail Theft Ring Receives Four Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2013

Contact Person: Bill Watkins (864) 282-2100

Columbia, South Carolina -----United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today Senior United States District Judge Henry M. Herlong of Greenville sentenced the first four defendants in a large mail theft conspiracy. The defendants who were sentenced are: Tasha N. Rendon, age 35, of Gaffney; Justin Mullinax, age 25, of Gaffney; Kevin M. Grissom, age 29, of Blacksburg, and Aaron B. Williams, age 40, of Roebuck, South Carolina. Rendon was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $77,000 in restitution, Mullinax was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $900 in restitution, Grissom was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $28,125 in restitution, and Williams was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $2,047 in restitution.

Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that this was a conspiracy that operated in the upstate of South Carolina from May 2011 through December 2012. The participants stole mail, altered checks stolen from the mail, and made counterfeit checks based on personal information obtained from the stolen mail. Often, individuals were recruited to open bank accounts into which counterfeit checks were deposited and from where funds were withdrawn before the fraud could be detected. The conspiracy did utilize some stolen identification documents when passing checks, but often individuals used their actual government issued identification documents when cashing checks at various locations. According to law enforcement, actual losses attributed to the mail theft and check cashing activities of the conspiracy exceeded $900,000. Hundreds of residents had their mail stolen during the months that the conspiracy was in operation. Much of the money obtained by the conspirators was used to purchase methamphetamine, the drug of choice of many of the defendants participating in the conspiracy.

Rendon was a leader of the conspiracy and recruited multiple individuals for the conspiracy. She was active in stealing mail, making checks, and recruiting individuals to pass the checks. Grissom was identified as a mid-level participant in the conspiracy. Grissom helped in creating counterfeit checks and also participated in mail theft. Williams and Mullinax were check passers recruited by the leadership of the conspiracy. Their jobs were to negotiate counterfeit checks provided to them by Rendon and her associates.

Sixteen others have pled guilty in this case and will be sentenced at a later date.

The case was investigated by agents of the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Bill Watkins of the Greenville office handled the case.

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