CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It is the largest recovery of stolen mail in the Charlotte area in the last 15 years -- that’s what federal prosecutors argued at Erik Magana’s sentencing hearing Tuesday morning.
Court documents show Magana targeted affluent neighborhoods in North and South Carolina from 2016 until November 2018.
They stated he stole checks and credit cards in the middle of the night to commit bank fraud and identity theft, netting nearly $250,000 from at least 1,300 people.
Magana pleaded guilty to those charges in April.
At the time, he said it was to fuel his drug addiction.
Magana will now serve three and a half years in prison and pay back more than $7,000 in restitution.
Before his sentencing, Magana gave a heartfelt and tearful apology both to his victims and to his family acknowledging he had done wrong.
Investigators identified him using surveillance video that showed a driver of a dark-colored Mercedes stealing letters out of mailboxes.
They recovered some of the mail at random locations across Charlotte, but documents show Magana hoarded the majority of it in his apartment.
It was so filthy, according to investigators, they couldn’t properly identify who the mail was intended for.
Prosecutors believe there are still more victims out there.
In addition to his prison sentence and mandatory restitution, Magana will also serve one year probation once he’s released.
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