A convicted felon who stole mail belonging to dozens of people in Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego counties as part of an identity theft scheme pleaded guilty Tuesday to three counts of ID theft.
Laura Leigh Maynard, 47, of Hemet, admitted the felony charges under a plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. In exchange for her admissions, prosecutors agreed to drop two related felony and misdemeanor allegations.
Maynard entered the plea deal just as her case was set for a preliminary hearing, which would have determined whether there was sufficient evidence to justify a trial.
Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan scheduled a sentencing hearing for Sept. 17 at the Banning Justice Center. Maynard is expected to receive a three-year jail term.
Her co-defendant, 25-year-old Laurence Lennon Bealer of Hemet, pleaded guilty in July to grand theft and was sentenced to two years in jail. He’s serving his time at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. Maynard is free on $60,000 bail.
According to Hemet police Sgt. Bob Nishida, Bealer and Maynard were stopped for a traffic violation on the morning of Jan. 29 in the 100 block of Girard Street.
After patrol officers confirmed that Bealer was on probation, they searched the vehicle and uncovered “a large quantity of mail belonging to numerous people,” Nishida said.
The mail contained credit cards, bank checks and other personal documents that the sergeant said could be used to perpetrate identity theft.
A driver’s license was also seized that investigators ultimately determined belonged to a man robbed in November 2018, according to Nishida.
“During the investigation, it was learned that Maynard had attempted to cash at least two checks using the robbery victim’s identity,” he said.
Detectives estimated there were about 150 victims whose mail had been stolen throughout the region, according to Nishida.
Court records show that Maynard has prior convictions for fraud, grand theft, receiving stolen property, burglary and identity theft. She has served time in state prison. Bealer had priors for identity theft, auto theft and petty theft,
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