A woman apparently driven by a methamphetamine addiction was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison Wednesday for acts that included stealing from mailboxes in Janesville and elsewhere around the state.
Shelby Bottensek, 42, of Wisconsin Rapids pleaded guilty to wire fraud and identity theft, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Bottensek was also ordered to pay restitution of $6,353.54 to her victims.
Bottensek began stealing mail in August 2019 from residences in mostly northern Wisconsin, according to documents. She opened 361 pieces of mail from 170 victims in an effort to locate items of value, including cash, uncashed checks and credit cards.
Bottensek admitted stealing at least three credit cards from the mail and made unauthorized charges, creating intended losses of $133,609, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District.
Judge James Peterson said Bottensek committed the crimes while suffering from a severe addiction to methamphetamine but said she remains responsible for her actions.
As part of a plea agreement, Bottensek pleaded guilty to two counts of a seven-count indictment.
One of the dismissed counts was conspiracy to steal U.S. mail, starting last August. The indictment indicates she had co-conspirators but did not name them.
The indictment states that Bottensek and the co-conspirators used stolen credit cards to make purchases, including putting money into the commissary accounts of an inmate at the Walworth County Jail.
Other purchases included glass pipes, scales, baggies, hypodermic needles, lighters and duffel bags from an online retailer.