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Press Release

Vallejo Man Sentenced to over 6 Years in Prison for Bank Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Matthew Core, 39, of Vallejo, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to six years and three months in prison for committing bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of reproduced U.S. Postal Service keys, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, between February and August 2018, Core participated in a scheme to defraud banks in which he and others used counterfeit U.S. Postal Service keys to break into residential mailboxes throughout Northern California. The scheme’s participants stole mail from these mailboxes and harvested bankcards, personal and business checks, and government-issued IDs, all belonging to the mail-theft victims. They then altered some of the checks and bankcards with the intent to use them to defraud financial institutions.

In one instance, in April 2018, Core deposited an altered check issued by JP Morgan Chase Bank into his own bank account at an ATM in Vallejo. By depositing the altered check, Core knowingly used the identity of a mail-theft victim without legal authority. Core committed these acts with the intent to defraud JP Morgan Chase, which was insured by FDIC. Similarly, on Aug. 29, 2018, when Core and others were arrested in Granite Bay, Core knowingly possessed at least four counterfeit U.S. Postal Service keys and two U.S. Postal Service locks. He possessed these items with the intent to commit identity theft and bank fraud, including using them to steal U.S. Mail. On that same date, Core also possessed at least fifteen unauthorized bankcards.

In April 2020, after pleading guilty, Core sought pretrial release pending his sentencing based on his condition as a cancer survivor and vulnerability to contracting the COVID‑19 virus in jail. He was shortly released and admitted to a residential drug treatment program. Two months later, however, Core absconded from the drug treatment facility without permission, and a federal warrant was issued for his arrest. In July 2020, the defendant was arrested in South Lake Tahoe after he fled from police. During a search of his car, law enforcement officers found an assault rifle and an empty 15-round magazine for a Springfield .45‑caliber handgun in the trunk.

This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, the Vallejo Police Department, and the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Artuz is prosecuting the case.

Core has been in custody since his July 2020 rearrest and will begin serving his sentence immediately.

Updated July 27, 2021

Identity Theft