Sebring mail theft leads to massive fraud investigation, arrests

From the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office:

An investigation into stolen mail in 2022 led to one of the most massive fraud cases in Highlands County Sheriff’s Office history and resulted in two people facing multiple felony charges.
The investigation, which began in July of last year, just recently concluded with the final charges being filed against Mark Marlin Moree, 33, and Ashley Christine Schenck, 35.

“I am very proud of the work of Detective Chad Douberley, who spent countless hours over the past seven months on this case,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “Detective Du’Wayne Kelly also put in a lot of work on this case to help make sure that justice was served. Extensive fraud investigations can be some of the most difficult and time-consuming cases to bring to a successful conclusion just because of the sheer number of victims and the amount of paperwork that needs to be compiled, and this one was more extensive than most.”

The investigation began with a single complaint of theft of blank check books from a mailbox but grew quickly as more and more reports of stolen mail were received from throughout the county. The investigation revealed that the stolen checks and credit cards were being used to not only purchase items, but also to create fraudulent bank accounts, investment accounts and store credit cards.

Multiple search warrants were granted for the accounts, which revealed they were all tied back to 104 Voss Court in Sebring, which is where Moree and Schenck lived with their children.
Further investigation showed that Moree and Schenck had purchased thousands of dollars’ worth of items with fraudulently created accounts, which they would either keep, or sell to pawn shops or other individuals. Many of these items were later recovered from pawn shops or the individuals they had been sold to and returned to the stores.

The case got even more complex when, after months of investigation and surveillance, a search warrant was executed on the home in October of 2022. Inside the home, detectives found more than 400 stolen credit/debit cards and nearly 300 parcels of mail, as well as stolen merchandise. There was also computer equipment that was being used to alter driver licenses and create fake checks. More than 400 debit cards were found in the home, which led to the discovery of hundreds more victims.

In addition, Moree and Schenck’s 1-year-old child was in the master bedroom within reach of narcotics and other dangerous paraphernalia. The child, as well as a sibling, were removed from the home by DCF.

The investigation revealed there were over 300 victims, many of them deceased, from Highlands County and surrounding counties and over 2,000 pieces of mail had been stolen in over a year. The pair also stole documents from the trash that contained valuable information that allowed them to steal other identities.

Schenck and Moree were both charged with 18 counts of uttering a forged instrument, seven counts of grand theft less than $5,000, 18 counts of criminal use of identification, eight counts of fraud, 13 counts of felony petit theft, two counts of grand theft over $5,000, and single counts of: trafficking in counterfeit credit cards, scheme to defraud over $50,000, grand theft of over $100,000, possession of personal ID information (5 or more), criminal use of personal ID (over $50,000), fraud/use ID without consent (victim 60 years of age or older), making or having materials to counterfeit ID, making or possessing instruments for forging bills, and child neglect.

Moree also faces charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of oxycodone and possession of drug paraphernalia based on discoveries made during the search of the Voss Court home.

Note: Not all arrests result in convictions. Everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty in court.

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