In Waco today, 39-year-old Charles Hattenbach and 29–year-old Kathryn Hubbert were sentenced to 81 months and 48 month in federal prison, respectively, for a postal theft scheme involving more than 50,000 pieces of mail and over $500,000 in other U.S. Government property from U.S. Post Offices in approximately 80 cities and towns across Texas announced U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman and U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Inspector in Charge Robert Weymss, Houston Division.
In addition to the prison terms, United States District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr., ordered the defendants to pay $103,720 restitution. Judge Smith also ordered that Hattenbach and Hubbert pay a $6,000 fine and $5,000 fine, respectively, and be placed on supervised release for a period of five years after completing their prison terms.
In July, Hattenbach pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal mail, one count of bank fraud, one count of theft of Government property and three counts of aggravated identity theft. In June, Hubbert pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to steal mail, one count of bank fraud, one count of theft of Government property and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to court records, from December 2013 until March 2014, the defendants conspired to steal U.S. mail and other Government property by breaking into U.S. Post Offices and blue mail receptacle boxes located outside of post offices in an area stretching from Midland to College Station and from Dallas to San Antonio. The defendants stole credit cards, personal checks, business checks, money orders, postage, W-2s, tax returns, items which contained personal identifying information, cash, gift cards and other items belonging to more than 2,000 victims.
The defendants also devised a scheme to defraud several financial institutions, including Extraco Bank in Round Rock, TX, by endorsing and depositing stolen money orders and checks. The defendants subsequently withdrew the deposits causing the financial institutions to lose more than $80,000. The defendants also activated numerous credit cards using victims’ personal identifying information, including names, social security numbers and driver’s license numbers and dates of birth, which they had previously stolen from the mail.
The defendants targeted United States Post Offices, collection boxes, parcel lockers and post office boxes in the following cities and towns: Alvarado, Austin (Balcones, Bluebonnet, Main, McNeil, Mockingbird, Northcross, South Campus, Southeast, and Town North branches), Bangs, Belton, Blanket, Brenham, Bryan, Buchanan Dam, Buckholts, Burton, Cameron, Campbellton, Carmine, Cedar Park, Chapel Hill, Clifton, Coleman, College Station, Colorado City, Copperas Cove, Corpus Christi (Gulfway branch), Dripping Springs, Early, Elgin, Florence, Gause, Georgetown, Gustine, Harker Heights, Hearne, Heidenheimer, Hewitt, Hillsboro, Holland, Hutto, Jerrell, Jonesboro, Kemper, Killeen, Lampasas, Lawn, Leander, Ledbetter, Liberty Hill, Lockhart, Loraine, Lorena, May, McDade, Meridian, Merkel, Midland, Milano, Millican, Mound, Navasota, Nolanville, Novice, Paige, Pendleton, Pflugerville, Red Oak, Rising Star, Roby, Rockport, Rogers, Rosebud, Round Rock, Salado, San Angelo, San Marcos, Santa Anna, Sinton, Sterling City, Sweetwater, Taylor, Temple, Thorndale, Treat, Troy, Tye, Valley Mills, Waco (Highlander and Woodway branches), Walnut Springs, Washington and Weir.
“The Postal Inspection Service has sought those who steal mail for hundreds of years. The ability to use the mail in a safe and secure manner is at the core of the Postal Inspection Service’s mission,” stated USPIS Inspector in Charge Robert Weymss.
This case resulted from an investigation conducted by USPIS and the Bell County Organized Crime Task Force (BCOTF). The BCOTF is comprised of investigators from the United States Marshals Service, Bell County Sheriff’s Office and police departments from Temple, Belton, Killeen, Copperas Cove and Harker Heights. Assistant United States Attorney Greg Gloff prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.