Fraud suspect stole more than $59,000 from mailboxes

Published on June 13, 2024 at 2:04 pm

A Jacksonville man has pleaded guilty to cashing thousands of dollars in checks and money orders after heisting them from mailboxes in Fleming Island, Jacksonville and St. Augustine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says.

Frank Anthony Acanda, 26, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. he faces up to 30 years in federal prison and payment of restitution to the victims, prosecutors said. A sentencing date has not been set.

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Prosecutors said they documented $59,142 in losses. They could not say how many pieces of mail were taken.

Acanda was indicted Dec. 15 on a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, plus conspiracy to commit theft of mail, theft of mail and eight counts of bank fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Another man, Jonathan Benavide Hidalgo, 26, also was indicted. His trial is scheduled in August.

Prosecutors say Acanda, Hidalgo and others stole large volumes of mail last year from residential and business mailboxes in Clay, Duval and St. Johns counties.

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After stealing checks and money orders, they and others deposited them into bank accounts they controlled. Then they used ATMs to immediately withdraw cash, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In some cases, they altered the stolen checks, increasing the amount so they could withdraw more money, prosecutors said.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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