SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Philip Rich, 49, of West Sacramento, pleaded guilty today to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, between March 2019 and March 2021, Rich and co-defendant Kimberly Acevedo perpetrated a mail fraud scheme that involved theft of U.S. mail, identity theft, and unlawful possession of dozens of stolen bank cards. Generally, Rich and Acevedo obtained the personally identifiable information (PII) of victims and used that information to apply for new credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks, and other financial instruments to be sent to the victims’ real home addresses. The defendants then submitted change-of-address requests to USPS at www.usps.com using the victims’ PII. These change-of-address requests rerouted the victims’ mail to defendants’ shared home address, where they would open the mail and use its contents to make fraudulent purchases and cash fraudulent checks.
When federal agents executed a search warrant at defendants’ residence on Oct. 14, 2020, they seized dozens of notebooks filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of identity-theft victim PII. The notebooks were scattered throughout the house, though mainly located in defendants’ shared bedroom. In addition, agents recovered an envelope, labeled “ID Templates,” in the bedroom containing approximately 10-15 fake California Driver’s Licenses in the names of various victims, but featuring Rich and Acevedo’s photographs and fake authentication features. Agents also recovered the tools required to construct the fake IDs as well as a magstripe device. Further, agents recovered over 50 credit and debit cards in the home and approximately 40 checkbooks in victims’ names and in the names of Rich and Acevedo. In total, defendants’ scheme caused over $110,000 in actual and intended loss.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Denise N. Yasinow and Robert J. Artuz are prosecuting the case.
Rich is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley on Sept. 15, 2022. Rich faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. He faces a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Charges of mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession of stolen mail, and unlawful possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices remain pending against Acevedo. The charges are only allegations; she is presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.