A 27-year-old Spokane woman will serve five years in prison for stealing thousands of pieces of mail from more than 900 Spokane residents, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Wednesday.
Souha Yazbek had a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service key that allowed her to access cluster-style mailboxes, according to a news release. Law enforcement discovered the key after Yazbek was arrested in February trying to sell a stolen vehicle, the release said. They searched her home and found the stolen mail, and an investigation discovered that she and three others had forged stolen checks and deposited them into their own accounts, as well as used stolen credit cards to make purchases.
Yazbek pleaded guilty to identity theft, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and possessing stolen mail and a counterfeit postal key.
Her three accomplices also received prison time from U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush: Charice Unruh was sentenced to just over three years in prison; Shawn Fitzgerald received a two-year sentence; and Raquel Calloway was sentenced to 15 months. The four also will be required to pay more than $50,000 in restitution.
Quackenbush noted at sentencing that the crimes “widely affected the community and had significant emotional and financial impact on the victims,” the release said.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with help from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allyson Edwards.