Gillette woman sentenced for her role in 2019 mail thefts

Via the Wyoming News Exchange

GILLETTE (WNE) — A Gillette woman was recently sentenced for her role in a rash of mail thefts in the spring of 2019.

At the end of July, Donae Larae Chavez, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl to 28 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, followed by five years of supervised release. Chavez also was ordered to pay $9.971.29 in restitution.

Chavez and Tad Mathill had been charged in July 2019 after they were linked to the theft of driver’s licenses and credit cards, with Mathill working as “the ringleader” in a series of mail thefts, according to court documents.

Local charges were dropped after they were charged federally for the crimes.

In September 2020, Mathill was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and possession of stolen mail.

The Sheriff’s Office started getting a series of complaints in April 2019 about checks and driver’s licenses stolen from the mail and used fraudulently.

In one case, two checks were stolen from a woman and were cashed for a total of $484.50 written to two people the woman didn’t know. But those two people told investigators that they were waiting for their new driver’s licenses to arrive in the mail. One said that while the Wyoming Department of Transportation had said it was mailed earlier in the month, he hadn’t received it.

Video surveillance showed that their driver’s licenses were used to cash the checks, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

In another case, a woman reported that she had requested a new credit card and although she hadn’t received it, Bank of America had alerted her to potential fraudulent use of the card.

Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny estimated there were more than 100 victims in the mail theft case. 


This story was posted on August 13, 2022.


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