Two Texas residents were sentenced to time in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud charges during the summer of 2014. They also pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and theft of government property. According to reports, the couple stole more than 50,000 pieces of mail from over 80 cities.

A judge sentenced a 39-year-old man to six years and nine months in prison, and a 29-year-old woman was sentenced to four years. Prosecutors say they stole the mail from collection boxes, post offices and parcel lockers in the Central Texas area. The mail was reportedly stolen during a three month period between December 2013 and March 2014.

Theft of any kind is a serious offense that could lead to jail or prison time. The amount of time that a defendant may spend in jail depends on state laws. In a case such as this one, federal laws apply because stealing mail is considered a federal offense. Therefore, the penalties may be stronger for those who are convicted. However, all defendants are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. There is also the possibility of a plea deal in any criminal case regardless of whether it is tried at the local, state or federal level.

Anyone charged with theft may wish to hire a criminal defense attorney. An attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain or create a defense to the charges in court. It may be possible for an attorney to have evidence withheld from a jury, which may result in the charges being dropped. If charges are dropped, it may be possible to have them expunged from a defendant’s record.

Source: Dallas Fort Worth CBS, “Texas Couple Sentenced In Mail Theft Case“, October 09, 2014