44-year-old Oshkosh woman may face federal charges in mail fraud

OSHKOSH — An Oshkosh woman could face federal charges for operating a national mail scam out of her room at the Town Motel.

Helen M. Loose, 44, was arrested Wednesday after investigators entering her room with a search warrant found several hundred letters addressed to people across the nation.

The letters informed them they had been selected to participate in market research looking into the “effectiveness and efficiency” of Western Union, a international money transfer service, said Sgt. Steve Sagmeister of the Oshkosh Police Department.

The letters contained phony checks for $2,200 and instructed the recipient to wire $1,950 through Western Union to a woman living in London, according to the letter.

Loose was looking up postal codes at the time authorities entered the motel room at 215 Division St., Sagmeister said.

So far, police know of two Oshkosh residents who fell victim to the scam, Sagmeister said.

Federal investigators and U.S. Postal Service inspectors continue to investigate the scam, Sagmeister said.

Police said they also found two bags of marijuana and a crack pipe in the room. Loose was charged Friday in Winnebago County Circuit Court with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Winnebago County Court Commissioner Daniel Bissett ordered Loose released on a $2,000 signature bond. She is due back in court Jan. 29 for a preliminary hearing on the drug charges.

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