RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A North Carolina man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to commit mail, bank fraud and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
Virginia State Police say 25-year-old Lareese Martelles Mallety conspired with several others to steal mail from local business parks and cash checks obtained through these thefts.
Mallety repeatedly traveled to Richmond between July 2018 and his arrest in October to commit these crimes.
According to court documents, he and others used pry bars to vandalize over 70 local secure business mailboxes to gain access to incoming and outgoing mail.
Mallety then recruited homeless people to cash checks obtained in the thefts. Razor blades and typewriters were used to alter the stolen checks and make them payable to the homeless recruits.
In the span of three months, the cashed checks totaled over $36,000.
Virginia State Police said during the time of his arrest, a search of Mallety’s rental car included a stolen handgun, pry bar, razor blades, a typewriter, three stolen U.S. mail parcels, and 45 checks stolen from local businesses worth nearly $120,000.
A nine-time convicted felon, Mallety carried a handgun throughout this conspiracy, often showing it to homeless recruits when directing them to cash stolen checks, VSP said.
Mallety has two prior convictions for conspiring to commit armed robbery and has previously been convicted of a possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.