MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – A 26-year-old Wisconsin woman and a 30-year-old Missouri man will spend the next few years behind bars after being sentenced for bank fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Marialuwisa A. Prado and Jimmy Walker were sentenced to 14 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release after both pled guilty to bank fraud.

Court records show that Prado, a Wisconsin resident, was working for a private mail-sorting business in Brookfield when she stole mail that contained a check in the amount of $600,263.55.

The check had been written by a Wisconsin corporation and was made payable to another Wisconsin corporation for business-related services. However, it never reached the intended recipient.

Instead, Prado sent the stolen check by FedEx to Walker, a Missouri resident, who had previously set up a sham bank account under the name of the Wisconsin business.

Walker opened the account at a bank branch in Olivette, Missouri, and then drove to a different branch of the same bank in nearby Ballwin, Missouri, where he deposited the stolen check.

Fortunately, bank officials flagged the transaction and prevented any funds from being unlawfully withdrawn by Prado or Walker.

In sentencing both defendants, Judge William Griesbach cited the significant dollar value at issue, the potential economic loss to the businesses and banks, the defendants’ planning and scheme, and the breach of trust in stealing mail from Prado’s former employer.

The judge reasoned that although both defendants lacked a criminal record, the offense warranted significant punishment and a strong message to anyone else thinking about committing bank fraud.

“The prison sentences in this case were the direct result of excellent collaboration between local and federal law enforcement,” stated U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad. “Law enforcement’s work – and the attentive bank employees who flagged the transaction – directly prevented the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars and ensured that these defendants are serving prison sentences instead of reaping the benefits of their criminal conduct.”

The case was investigated by the Oshkosh Police Department and the Green Bay office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from law enforcement agencies in the State of Missouri.