Garden City man sentenced in bizarre mail harassment scheme

Posted at 9:01 AM, Dec 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-17 11:08:58-05

GARDEN CITY, Idaho — Frank Sweeney, 76, of Garden City was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison (51 months) for using the mail to stalk six victims, according to U.S. Attorney Bart Davis.

U.S. District Judge David Nye also sentenced Sweeney to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $6,000 fine. Sweeney pled guilty to six counts of stalking on August 21.

According to court records, the investigation began in December, 2015, after Sweeney began sending harassing and unwanted postcards to four victims at their home and business addresses. “The postcards were prepaid postcards that had been typed using a typewriter. The postcards contained strong racial epithets, derogatory language, and insults to the victims," according to a news release from Davis’ office. “Sweeney wrote in the postcards that he had been surveilling the victims and had obtained their personal information.”

“Sweeney sent postcards to victims’ neighbors purporting to be from the Idaho Sex Offender Registry, falsely accusing one of the victims of being a convicted sex offender. Sweeney mailed postcards to various inmates around the country purporting to be from the victims and requesting return correspondence. In response, the victims received numerous letters from notorious serial killers and criminals,” the release said. “Sweeney sent a postcard to the Idaho Black History Museum purporting to be from one of the victims. The postcard contained disturbing racial slurs.”

Sweeney reportedly continued to mail harassing postcards to the victims for three years.

In 2018, after Sweeney began mailing similar harassing postcards to two additional victims, law enforcement officials identified Sweeney as the perpetrator, according to the release.

“During a later interview, Sweeney admitted to mailing the postcards and to hiring a private investigator to obtain personal information about the victims. Sweeney said that he decided to send the postcards to the victims after having altercations with the victims over a parking spot at the Garden City post office and a Garden City Wells Fargo bank drive-through window,” it stated.

Neither Sweeney nor the victims knew each other before these altercations.

The case was prosecuted in federal court because Sweeney used the U.S. mail to commit the crimes. The case was investigated by United States Postal Inspection Service, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, and the Boise Police Department.