SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio man was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for stealing mail and cashing fraudulent checks.
Court documents say Zachary Wayne Crowell, 35, was part of a group that broke into mailboxes to steal checks, credit cards, IDs, bank statements and other financial state. The checks were “washed” to remove the name of the original payee so they could be deposited into accounts controlled by Crowell or his co-defendant Brandon James Waggoner. The funds were then withdrawn before the checks were returned as fraudulent. Crowell also used stolen debit and credit cards to illegally purchase firearms on behalf of others.
On May 18, 2021, Crowell pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. In addition to the prison sentence, Crowell was ordered to pay $39,743.62 in restitution and complete five years of supervised release after serving his sentence.
“Mailbox break-ins and mail theft are serious crimes that can create havoc as they often lead to other affronts such as fraud, financial loss and identity theft, as is produced here,” said U.S. attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “It is striking that Zachary Crowell illegally purchased firearms after breaking into mailboxes in this case. We will continue to work closely with our partners to investigate and prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of federal law. »
“Mail and identity theft investigations remain a top priority for the Secret Service in our mission to protect the nation’s financial institutions and victims of fraud,” said Paul Duran, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge. . “The success in this case demonstrates our commitment to this mission and the collaborative efforts with our law enforcement partners.”
“One of the top priorities of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is to protect and maintain the integrity of U.S. mail,” said Scott Fix, Inspector in Charge of the Houston Division of the USPIS. “Postal inspectors will work tirelessly to identify and arrest individuals like Zachary Wayne Crowell who choose to steal mail and use it to commit other crimes. Today’s sentencing is the culmination of many hours of hard work by postal inspectors and our local law enforcement partners, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Bexar County Sheriff and the San Antonio Police Department, to identify and bring these individuals to justice.
On October 5, 2021, co-defendant Brandon James Wagoner pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud. He was sentenced on February 1, 2022 to time served, a five-year supervised release and ordered to pay $4,992 in restitution.
The United States Secret Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the matter.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William R. Harris prosecuted the case.