A United States District-Court judge sentenced 36- year old Krista Swanson from Omaha to four years in prison after she lead a theft ring in Omaha.
Swanson lead 4 other people to steal checks out of mailboxes. Tom Harding with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says the team would steal from mailboxes all over the city.
They would take the checks back to a house where they would create their own check using the checking account and routing numbers.
They'd cash the checks at local banks through the drive-thru.
Swanson, in return, would give the thieves some of the money, or drugs.
All 5 of the thieves were sentenced to time in prison. Swanson was the last to be sentenced.
One Omaha woman was a victim of mail theft just last week. Police don't know if it was part of Swanson's ring.
Angela Hawkins sent out a check through the mail to pay a bill last week. An hour later, she noticed strange things outside her window.
"I saw some people just sitting outside by the fire hydrant, I was like okay, something's not right, so I looked out the window and saw somebody closing the mailbox. I opened my door and I saw her putting something in."
Hawkins believes when the thief was a younger looking woman. She says she took her check, and replaced it with a flier soliciting snow removal services. She believes the thief did that to be discreet about taking the mail.
When Hawkins realized what happened, she panicked. " I tried calling my husband he didn't answer so the next instinct was to get on the phone with my bank."
Her bank straightened out the problem, but Hawkins was with out checks or a debit card for at least a week.
She now takes her mail to a drop box that cannot be opened.
Harding says there are things you can do to avoid check fraud.
Consider online banking, and set up e-mail alerts for whenever larger amounts of money are deducted from your account.
Keep up with your bank statements and monitor all the activity.
Consider mailing checks through drop boxes at the post office or other stores with public drop offs.