Mail theft is a growing problem in Riverside County and I’m relieved that the U.S. Attorney and our local law enforcements have worked to take these criminals off the street. These crimes often cost victims significant money and cause a major inconvenience. I believe we must continue to aggressively pursue mail theft criminals and increase the penalties for these crimes.
Federal indictments target 11 accused Inland Empire mail thieves
By Gail Wesson
The Press Enterprise
Federal indictments have been filed against 11 defendants in the Inland area linked to mail theft and related fraud crimes in a U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigation where about 1,167 pieces of stolen mail were recovered, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday, Aug. 11.
Six Inland Empire residents have been arrested in the past two weeks. Most defendants are charged with using checks and personal information stolen from the mail to commit financial crimes, including bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a news release.
The defendants include Robert Kujaun Thomas, 40 of Hemet, charged with possessing more than 850 pieces of stolen mail belonging to hundreds of victims from at least 17 Inland Empire cities and possession of stolen credit and debit cards with the intent to commit fraud.
The other 10 defendants are William Jason Leonard, 37, of Hemet; Michael Joseph Tomassacci, 39, of San Jacinto; Mark Alexander Gonzales, 30, of Homeland; Pricila Mayora Deleon, 28, of Moreno Valley; Kimberly Ann Hernandez, 34, and Anthony Garcia Jr., 22, both of Fontana; Julian Tapia, 26, of Colton; Hubert Salvador Salazar Jr., 25, of San Bernardino; and Alfred Zamorano Jr., 41, and Alicia Ann Palomares, 33, both of Rialto.
“The recent rise in mail theft in the Inland Empire poses a serious problem for the community which relies on the mail for the full range of business and personal matters,” U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in the news release.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Hemet Police department assisted the Postal Inspection Service in the investigation. All but Tomassacci and Salazar are in federal custody, or in state custody on unrelated charges. Anyone with information about the two fugitives may contact investigators at 1-877-876-2455.