CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte man faces two decades in prison after admitting to stealing mail and committing wire fraud using the stolen information.
Soheil Akhavan Rezaie, 37, pled guilty in federal court Tuesday to committing wire fraud and confessed to stealing large amounts of mail from local homes, according to Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Court documents said Rezaie targeted neighborhoods in Charlotte and surrounding areas from 2021 to March of this year. He stole what is described as “large quantities of mail,” including credit cards, tax forms, financial statements, personal identifying information and both personal and business bank checks.
In court, Rezaie said he altered dollar amounts on stolen checks or changed the names of payees to his own name then deposited the checks into his own bank accounts. He said he would then withdraw the funds before the victims or their banks found out the checks were stolen.
Rezaie also admitted to stealing blank checks and writing checks to himself which he would then cash. He caused more than $150,000 in losses through the check cashing scheme, according to the U.S. Attorney.
He also used stolen personal information to create fake documents in the names of mail theft victims.
Rezaie pleaded guilty to wire fraud and could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and forced to pay a $250,000 fine. His sentencing date has not been set.
This isn’t Rezaie’s first time engaging in similar schemes. He was convicted of mail theft in 2017, as well, and was out of jail on supervised release when he committed the most recent crimes. A revocation of that supervised release is pending, according to the U.S. Attorney.
The United States Postal Service offered tips to prevent mail theft including promptly picking up mail, dropping mail off close to a pick up time, asking about mail that is overdue, not sending cash in that mail, arranging pick ups if you can’t receive a package in person, using USPS’ hold for pick up option, requesting signature confirmation and quickly filing change of addresses.
Suspected mail theft can be reported to USPS investigators by calling 1-877-876-2455.
(WATCH BELOW: Man witnesses postal worker throwing away mail in south Charlotte, prompts investigation)
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