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Phyllis Ann Garcia
Courtesy of Caldwell County Sheriff's Office

Hudson Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison Time For Raiding Mailboxes

31-year-old Phyllis Ann Garcia of Hudson was sentenced Thursday (February 2) to 54 months in prison for bank fraud and related charges. The announcement was made by Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Garcia was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release after she completes her prison term and to pay $18,418.16 in restitution.

Sheriff Don Brown of the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Alan Jones, of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, and Chief Reed Baer of the Hickory Police Department joined U.S. Attorney King in making the announcement.

According to court documents and court hearings, between 2020 and 2021, Garcia and her co-conspirators stole checks, money orders, credit cards, and other financial and personal identifying information of victims in Caldwell and Catawba Counties and used it to defraud banks and other financial institutions.

Garcia obtained the victims’ information, debit cards, credit cards, checks or money orders from the homes of acquaintances or stole them from residential and business mailboxes, an activity Garcia and her co-conspirators referred to as “mailboxing.” Garcia and her co-conspirators forged the victims’ signatures or altered the names on the stolen checks and money orders, cashed them, and split the proceeds.

Court records show that Garcia and the co-conspirators also used victims’ debit cards and credit cards to make purchases or used the victims’ stolen information to obtain credit cards in their names. According to court records, at least 247 individuals were victims of Garcia’s mail theft scheme. Law enforcement also determined that Garcia and her co-conspirators were responsible for the theft of at least 495 pieces of mail from residential and business mailboxes.

On August 31, 2022, Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, access device fraud, and bank fraud. She is in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. In making the announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked multiple agencies including the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and the Hickory Police Department for their investigation of the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville prosecuted the case.