Couple repossessed bank accounts after stealing mail: Feds

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A couple took over people’s bank accounts after stealing their mail in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia, prosecutors say. The man pleaded guilty.

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A couple who called themselves the ‘Bonnie and Clyde of modern times’ have taken over people’s bank accounts after going on a month-long mail-stealing spree in three southeastern states, according to the prosecutors.

Michael H. Boatwright, 33, and Stephanie Michelle Lea Napier, 29, drove out to search through mailboxes in their home state of South Carolina, as well as in Florida and Georgia, and illegally collected the personal information of their victims, according to the United States. Georgia Southern District Attorney’s Office.

Using this information, prosecutors say they were able to seize a number of bank accounts and “steal or attempt to steal” a total of $1.5 million from their victims.

Boatwright pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud on Aug. 29, court documents show. Napier previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud in March.

“These thefts were not just about stealing letters from the rural mailboxes of private citizens; Boatwright and Napier took their crimes several steps further by using this mail to steal sensitive information and the identities of individuals,” U.S. Attorney David H. Estes said in a statement.

The couple, both from Chesterfield, are awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty, the statement said.

Lawyers for Boatwright and Napier declined requests for comment from McClatchy News on Aug. 30.

Beginning in November 2020, the couple began stealing mail in a spree that will last until June 2021, prosecutors say.

After obtaining personal identifying information from several victims and gaining access to their bank accounts, the duo made wire transfers, wrote fake checks and opened debit and credit cards in their victims’ names, according to court documents.

In one case, the couple took over the co-owned bank accounts of two victims and robbed them of $271,000 via wire transfer in June 2021, according to Boatwright’s indictment.

“Together, Boatwright and Napier stole and attempted to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from their many victims, and caused significant non-monetary damage and headaches to countless victims who had to deal with the theft of flagrant and far-reaching identity of Boatwright and Napier,” the indictment reads.

The United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Secret Service and authorities in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina are involved in the couple’s investigation, the statement said.

“Even the most cunning criminals cannot escape the team effort of federal, state and local law enforcement charged with pursuing them,” Craig Reno, resident Secret Service agent in charge, said in a statement. .

Chesterfield is about 85 miles northeast of Columbia.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the Southeast and Northeast while based in New York. She is an alumnus of the College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Previously she has written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and more.