South Florida Resident Sentenced to 30 Months for Bank Fraud and Identity Theft After a String of USPS Collection Box Burglaries

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Miami, Florida – A Palm Beach resident who altered and cashed personal checks, which victims reported as stolen from U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) drop boxes, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison on bank fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.

On December 30, 2021, Danny Seruto Perez pled guilty to the fraud and identity theft offenses.  According to court documents, starting in or around July 2018, the United States Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”) was alerted to a string of mail thefts from mail collection boxes after receiving complaints from multiple victims who stated that checks they had mailed out (including to pay their bills) never reached their intended recipients.  

Through its investigation, USPIS learned that many of the victims’ stolen checks had been visibly altered (or “washed”) and re-written with Seruto Perez’s name as the payment recipient, and for larger payments than the original amounts written by the victims.  Further investigation revealed that Seruto Perez fraudulently deposited these “washed” and stolen checks into his own bank account and into accounts held by his friends.  Seruto Perez’s bank fraud scheme involved stolen checks from approximately 15 victims, totaling approximately $36,700 in stolen funds—all of which the court has now ordered him to pay back as restitution to the victims.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Joseph W. Cronin, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Inspector in Charge, Miami Division, made the announcement. 

United States Postal Inspection Service, Orlando Domicile, investigated the case, in collaboration with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, the Vero Beach Police Department and the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lacee Monk and Eduardo Gardea Jr.  Assistant United States Attorney Emily Stone is handling forfeiture. 

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 21-cr-60181.

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