She Stole Mail from 170 People Then Went on a $133K Spending Spree

A Wisconsin Rapids woman who conspired to steal mail from 170 people in multiple cities from Wausau to Port Edwards pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to identity theft and wire fraud and was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. She also was ordered to undergo three years of supervision after release and pay $6,353 in restitution.

According to court documents:

Between August and October 2019, Shelby Bottensek, 42, and unnamed others stole 350 pieces of mail that contained cash, uncashed checks and credit cards. She used the stolen credit cards to deposit money in inmate accounts in Wood County and Walworth County jails and to buy items online and at businesses in Portage and Wood counties.

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The thefts and unauthorized use of credit cards and checks amounted to what prosecutors called an “intended loss” of $220,810.

Assistant US Attorney Daniel Graber said Bottensek agreed to an actual loss of $133,609 when the plea deal was reached, but the larger intended loss amount was a product of the credit limits of stolen credit cards and amounts on stolen checks recovered from her prior residence in Nekoosa. The loss total also increased as federal prosecutors subsequently learned about more victims.

“This was a more involved case than typical due to the number of victims, pieces of mail and the number of communities involved. We usually don’t see that kind of scope in these cases,” Graber said…  Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

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