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Press Release

Contra Costa County Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison for Mail Theft and Bank Fraud Scheme Committed Throughout Northern California

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Richard Beldon Waters III, 29, formerly of Contra Costa County, was sentenced today to four years in prison for bank fraud and possession of stolen U.S. mail, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, between April and August 2020, Waters and co-defendant Desiree Bello aka Desiree Sanchez, 28, of Contra Costa County, perpetrated a mail theft and bank fraud scheme throughout Northern California.

The scheme involved stealing U.S. mail from residential mailboxes and harvesting bankcards, identification documents, financial information, checks, and personally identifiable information (PII) for use in fraudulent activity. Waters and Bello used the identification and PII of the mail theft victims to obtain money and property from banks and businesses.

On at least two occasions, Waters and Bello used identification documents and financial instruments of mail theft victims to purchase and lease vehicles from car dealerships. For example, on June 25, 2020, Bello entered a Hyundai dealership in Stockton to lease a new Hyundai Genesis G80 using a stolen identity. She made an initial $7,000 payment with a check in the victim’s name, and also submitted a lease application using the victim’s name, date of birth, California Driver’s License number, and Social Security Number. The dealership ultimately approved the application. Bello was able to drive the new G80, valued at approximately $55,490, off the lot.

Additionally, on two separate occasions in May 2020, Waters knowingly possessed stolen mail. On May 11, 2020, he was arrested in Folsom where he possessed over 300 pieces of stolen mail. Similarly, on May 18, 2020, he was arrested in El Dorado Hills where he possessed five large trash bags of mail that he and his co-schemers had just stolen minutes earlier from a residential complex.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Stockton Police Department, the Folsom Police Department, the Concord Police Department, the Pittsburg Police Department, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Artuz prosecuted the case.

In March 2022, Bello was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for committing the same crimes as Waters.

Updated August 1, 2022

Identity Theft