A North Hill man running a write-in campaign for New Castle’s mayoral position was found guilty of federal mail fraud charges in Florida.
Devin Ryan Maresca was found guilty of 10 counts of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in the Fort Myers Division of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Maresca, who was originally from Cape Coral, Florida, was found guilty of running a scheme through the U.S. Postal Service’s priority shipping insurance program and using fake and fictitious usernames, emails, contact information and addresses to collect more than $100,000 in reimbursement checks.
Mail fraud charges can call for up to a prison sentence of 20 years and/or fines up to $250,000 or probation, while the aggravated identity theft charge could carry a sentence of up to two years in prison. Prosecutors were seeking at least $74,700 in restitution for a guilty conviction.
Maresca, who moved from Florida to New Castle two years ago, originally attempted to run for mayor in the November general election as an independent on the ballot against Democratic candidate Mark Elisco. Maresca’s petition for the ballot was struck down after county Common Pleas Judge John W. Hodge ruled Maresca’s petition did not have 100 valid signatures, which led to Maresca announcing his write-in campaign.
Lawrence County Solicitor Jason Medure, who is also the solicitor of the county’s board of elections, said with a felony conviction, minus a successful appeal, Maresca would still be able to run for office but couldn’t be seated if he were to win.
Maresca’s jury trial, which began with jury selection on Monday and wrapped Wednesday morning, was presided over by District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell. Deliberations began at 9 a.m. Wednesday and a verdict was reached by lunchtime Wednesday.
U.S. Florida Middle District Assistant District Attorney Trent Reichling and U.S. Department of Justice Fort Myers Assistant Attorney Patrick Darcey prosecuted the case, while attorney Roger Azcona represented Maresca.
The prosecution called nine witnesses to testify, including U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent Heidi Lescault, USPS Office of the Inspector General special agent Jill Younce and USPS workers Thomas Andrews, Christopher Hardin and Cody Vanburen.
As part of its exhibits, the prosecution included 313 USPS envelopes mailed to individuals with the last name Maresca containing indemnity checks or indemnity claim declinations, a USPS database record of claims filed by individuals with the name Maresca between May 2018 and July 2020, a USPS database record of usernames created by individuals with the last name Maresca, correspondence for claim checks, bank records for Maresca, 65 USPS packages with the agency’s Click-N-Ship labels on them and claims made against those packages, USPS indemnity claim checks deposited into a bank account, photos of Maresca at USPS self-serving kiosks or offices, PayPal and email information for Maresca and a transcript of an audio recording of Maresca to investigators.
Once the prosecution rested its case on Tuesday, Azcona filed a motion for acquittal for Maresca, which Chappell denied. The defense had no witnesses to testify and Maresca did not testify. The defense rested its case at 4:03 p.m. Tuesday.