HOUSTON – A federal grand jury in Houston indicted five men in a mail theft scheme, federal authorities announced Wednesday.
Angel Javier Contreras Melara, 44, Bayron Rolando Guzman Yanez, 28, Elvin Lioile Rivas, 22, Hoffman Ramon Osorio Gallardo, 29, and Jonathan Arreaga Camey, 35, are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, possession of stolen mail and aggravated identity theft.
Federal authorities described them all as Honduran nationals and noted that all but Camey were illegally residing in Houston. Camey is a legal permanent resident of Houston but could lose his status if convicted, a news release about the case noted.
Melara and Rivas are currently in custody. The remaining three were permitted release pending further criminal proceedings. All are expected to appear for their arraignments on the charges before a U.S. magistrate judge at a later date.
The 17-count indictment alleges multiple mail thefts throughout the Houston area beginning in mid-2019 and continuing through the end of 2020. Federal authorities said the conspirators would look for checks within the stolen mail and alter them to deposit into accounts the conspirators controlled.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years in prison for the conspiracy and bank fraud counts and five years if convicted of the mail theft. If convicted, they would also face an additional and mandatory two years for the aggravated identity theft counts which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation with the assistance of police departments in Meadows Place, Houston and Sugar Land.