Two Spokane women who stole mail to perpetuate an identity theft scheme aimed at fueling a methamphetamine addiction pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court.
Jacquelyn A. Crawford, 40, and Charlene M. Haggard, 43, pilfered bank account numbers and used stolen driver's licenses to manufacture and pass more than 100 counterfeit checks that bilked Spokane area businesses of about $40,000.
The two ransacked rural mail boxes and prowled cars from February until April, when investigators searched Haggard's home at 5904 N. Regal St. and Crawford's room at the Apple Tree Inn, 9508 N. Division Street. Crawford said she was “kind of relieved” when she was taken into custody, investigators said.
“She just began injecting methamphetamine, so in a way she was thankful she was caught,” Spokane County Sheriff's Office Detective Dean Meyer said in May.
Crawford and Haggard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17; they're incarcerated at the Spokane County Jail. Their plea agreements call for each to serve prison time, pay restitution to their victims and forfeit criminal proceeds, including property obtained with counterfeit checks.
The U.S Postal Service offers these tips to protect mail:
•Use the letter slots at your post office to mail letters, or give them to a letter carrier.
•Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. •Don’t send cash in the mail.
•Ask your bank for checks that can’t be altered.
•Tell your post office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.