Close X

Corona Man Arrested on Federal Charges Related to Scheme to Steal, ‘Wash’ and Cash Checks Stolen from the U.S. Mail

Posted by Fay Arfa | Apr 08, 2016 | 0 Comments

RIVERSIDE, California– A Corona man who had a stolen, blue mail-collection box in his living room was arrested today on federal charges that allege he stole mail, “washed” checks that he found and cashed the checks using a stolen identity.

Paul Wagner, 28, was arrested this morning without incident and is expected to be arraigned in United States District Court this afternoon on a three-count indictment.

Wagner is charged with bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and possession of stolen mail.

Wagner allegedly participated in a scheme that stole mail to find checks. Once Wagner obtained the checks, he would “wash” the checks – meaning that he would remove the payee's name by physically scraping off the ink or using chemicals to erase the ink. After the check had been washed, Wagner altered the payee to make the check payable to the name of the identity theft victim, according to the indictment.

The indictment specifically alleges that Wagner cashed a check at a Bank of America branch on November 15, 2015 using a driver's license with the name of an identity theft victim.

During a search of residence on March 1, authorities recovered hundreds of stolen checks, check-washing materials, and a large mail collection box that had been stolen from a street in Riverside.

“The frequency of mail theft is rising at a concerning rate across Southern California,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This criminal activity harms both individuals and businesses in large numbers, and we appreciate the efforts of the Postal Inspection Service in combating this trend.”

Robert Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Postal Inspection Service's Los Angeles Division, noted, “Anyone who attempts to remove mail from a U.S. mail receptacle should be aware that Postal Inspectors, with the full cooperation of their law enforcement partners, will vigorously pursue, arrest, and bring to justice anyone who commits a crime against the U.S. Postal Service or its customers.”

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

If he convicted of the charges in the indictment, Wagner would face a statutory maximum sentence of 37 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

USAO – California, Central

Topic: Financial Fraud  Identity Theft Updated April 7, 2016

Central District of California DOJ / 16-069 / April 7, 2016

About the Author

Fay Arfa

Fay Arfa has the distinction of being Certified as a Specialist in two separate areas of law – Criminal Law as well as Appellate Law – by the California State Bar, Board of Specialization. The National Board of Trial Advocacy has also awarded her a board Certification in Criminal Trial Advocacy. ...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Board Certifications

Contact Us Today

Fay Arfa is committed to answering your questions about Trials, Appeals, Habeas Corpus, State Crimes, Federal Crimes, and Sex Crimes law issues in California.

We offer a free telephone consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.