Temple couple plead guilty in widespread mail theft scheme

WACO, Texas (KXAN) — A Temple, Texas couple pleaded guilty to federal charges in a postal theft scheme that stretched from Dallas to San Antonio, and Midland to College Station.

The theft involved more than 50,000 pieces of mail and more than $500,000 in other government property from post offices in nearly 90 Texas cities and towns.

Charles Hattenbach, 39, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to steal mail, bank fraud, theft of government property and three counts of aggravated identity theft. Last month, 28-year-old Kathryn Hubbert pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal mail, bank fraud, theft of government property and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

From Dec. 2013 to March 2014, the two conspired to steal mail by breaking into post offices and mail boxes, court record showed. They stole credit cards, personal checks, money orders, W-2s, tax returns, cash, gift cards and other items with personal identifying information belonging to more than 2,000 people.

Hattenbach and Hubbert also devised a scheme to defraud several financial institutions, including Extraco Bank in Round Rock where they endorsed and deposited stolen money orders and checks. The two later made cash withdraws causing banks to lose more than $80,000. Numerous credit cards accounts were also opened using stolen personal information stolen from the mail.

“We take very seriously the integrity of the U.S. mail and will continue to work with the Postal Inspection Service and our law enforcement partners to apprehend and prosecute people who, like the defendants in this case, target the mail to facilitate their criminal enterprises,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.

Hattenbach remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing on Sept. 10. Hubbert, who is currently out on bond, has a sentencing date set for Aug. 20.

The two are currently facing:

  • Up to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to steal U.S. Mail
  • Up to 30 years in federal prison for bank fraud
  • Up to 10 years in prison for theft of government property
  • Consecutive two-year federal prison terms for each aggravated identity theft charge

A restitution amount made up of stolen money, proceeds from the crime, losses incurred by the victims, property damage among other things will also be determined during sentencing.

Court documents show Hattenbach and Hubbert 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.

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