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Press Release

Elk Grove Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Identity Theft

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Joseph Daniel Ryan, 21, of Elk Grove, was sentenced today to two years and eight months in prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in the execution of a fraud scheme, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

Ryan is the last of three defendants to be sentenced for this scheme that used stolen identities of Elk Grove postal customers to apply for debit and credit cards and obtain cash, goods, and services. Ryan pleaded guilty to the charges on March 11, 2016.

According to court documents, between October 1, 2014, and February 12, 2015, Ryan and Elk Grove residents Leonard A. Velasco, 24, and Keri Southwood, 22, were involved in a scheme to steal U.S. mail by damaging or destroying U.S. letter boxes and neighborhood cluster boxes. The defendants used the stolen mail to gather financial and personal identification information for purposes of fraud.

San Francisco Division Inspector in Charge Rafael Nunez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated: “Postal Inspectors worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those individuals responsible for thefts of mail, postal property and complex financial crimes committed against the public and the Post Office.”

Robert M. Lehner, Chief of Police for the City of Elk Grove stated: “We would like to thank the US Postal Inspectors’ Office, and the US Attorney's Office, for vigorously prosecuting the individuals involved in the mail theft cases from Elk Grove. Hopefully, the arrests and sentencing of these three suspects will send a clear message to others that these types of crimes will not be tolerated in our community.”

According to court documents, Ryan and his co-defendants possessed stolen U.S. mail of over 1,000 victims and over 30 credit cards in victims’ names. As a result of the destruction of postal receptacles, customers suffered the loss of mail and mail services and the Postal Service suffered loss as well.

All three defendants pleaded guilty. On March 18, 2016, Velasco was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. On August 25, 2015, Southwood was also sentenced to two years and six months in prison. Each defendant was ordered to pay full restitution to all victims, including $6,526 to the U.S. Postal Service for repairs to U.S. Postal Service receptacles.

This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Elk Grove Police Department with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Narcotic and Economic Crimes Investigations Task Force (NECI). NECI is a partnership between local and federal law enforcement to combat theft and unlawful use of the U.S. Mail. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office and Sutter County Sheriff’s Office have each dedicated law enforcement personnel to the task force. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rodriguez prosecuted the case.

Updated July 29, 2016

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 2:15-cr-116-GEB