LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – 6½-Year Federal Sentence to Run Consecu…

LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire –
6½-Year Federal Sentence to Run Consecutive to 5-Year State Prison Term

A Corona woman was sentenced today to 78 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud in relation to an identity theft scheme that caused individuals, banks, retailers and credit card companies to lose approximately $199,000.

Marisa Ann Soto, 30, was sentenced by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips in Riverside federal court. In imposing the sentence – and ordering that it run consecutively to a five-year term Soto is currently serving in state prison in an unrelated identity theft case – Judge Phillips cited the seriousness and sophistication of the crime, as well as Soto’s prior identity theft convictions.

On May 17, 2007, Soto pleaded guilty to mail fraud for using the United States mails in conducting a scheme to defraud banks and merchants. In 2003, Soto obtained money and property from merchants and banks by using personal identifying information belonging to several individuals to create and pass counterfeit checks and to establish lines of credit.

Some of the data Soto used to commit the identity theft came from stolen mail. Soto placed holds on several victims’ mail and then went or caused someone else to go to the United States Post Office to retrieve the held mail. For instance, on July 24, 2003, Soto filed paperwork to hold mail in the names of two victims. Pursuant to the request, the Postal Service held the mail intended for delivery to the victims, and on July 31, Soto went to the United States Post Office in Riverside and picked up the mail addressed to the victims. Soto used information in that stolen mail to create counterfeit checks in the victims’ names, and she used the bogus checks to purchase items from various merchants. The actual loss due to Soto’s conduct between April 2003 and August 2003 was approximately $199,000.

This case was the result of investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service.

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Jerry A. Behnke
(951) 276-6211

Release No. 07-104

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