33 People Charged with Crimes Against the Postal Service Including Mail Theft by Employees

By on August 27, 2016 in Agency News, Court Cases with 10 Comments

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According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California, the long arm of the law is alive and well in seeking out crimes involving the Postal Service.

Thirty-three defendants have been charged as part of an operation targeting criminal activity involving the Postal Service. Most of the defendants are Postal Service employees charged with stealing mail, embezzling from the agency or, in one case, failing to deliver about 50,000 pieces of mail.

Most of the defendants were charged in indictments that were returned by federal grand juries on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

Local Union President Charged and More than 48,000 Mail Pieces Not Delivered

In one of the cases, the former local area president of the Mail Handlers Union has been charged with conspiracy and possession of stolen mail. Jarol Garcia, formerly employed by the Moreno Valley Delivery Distribution Center as a mail handler, was found to be in possession of about 166 mobile phones that had been stolen from the mail. He is charged in the indictment with trading the phones after offering them for exchange on a website.

Another case charges a mail carrier from Los Angeles with conspiracy to commit fraud and stealing mail.  The indictment alleges Norman A. Muschamp was part of a conspiracy to use information belonging to identity theft victims to order pre-paid PayPal debit cards that were sent to primarily non-existent addresses on his mail route.  Muschamp allegedly participated in the scheme by obtaining the PayPal debit cards from the mail and delivering them to co-conspirators in exchange for cash. Investigators believe it caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.

In another case, a postal carrier from Los Angeles was charged with delaying the mail by hoarding the mail she was supposed to deliver. In her residence, investigators found more than 48,000 pieces of mail that Sherry Watanabe was supposed to deliver to mail customers.

Although she faces a maximum of three years in custody, prosecutors have reportedly agreed to recommend that a prison term would not exceed “the low end of the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range” and she has entered a plea agreement.

U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker says in the press release: “Mail theft across Southern California has increased recently, which is significant since this type of crime tends to be a precursor to other crimes like identity theft and drug offenses.  As a result, we are stepping up enforcement activities, including dealing aggressively with corruption within the Postal Service.”

Others Charged in Crime Sweep

Other cases filed as part of the sweep include:

  • Vince Johnson, who worked for a USPS contractor, was charged with possession of stolen mail;
  • Jose Hernandez, who worked for a USPS contractor, was charged with mail theft;
  • Tamika Deloach, a mail carrier, was charged with possessing stolen mail related to checks she allegedly stole from the mail and deposited into her credit union account;
  • Charell Watson, formerly a mail processing clerk, was charged with theft of mail by a postal employee;
  • Nicole Elwood was charged with theft of mail by a postal employee for allegedly stealing mail items containing medications, including medications sent from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans;
  • Kayla Young was charged with mail theft by a postal employee;
  • Michael Smith was charged with mail theft by a postal employee for allegedly stealing money orders from a mail envelope;
  • Justin Brewster, a USPS mail processing clerk, was charged with mail theft by a postal employee for allegedly stealing video games;
  • Christian Wesley Johnson, a postal clerk, was charged with mail theft by a postal employee for stealing mobile phones, which, according to his plea agreement, were valued at approximately $15,000; and
  • Deion Deshazier, a former mail carrier, was charged with dumping and delaying mail;
  • Betty Owens, a former mail handler, was charged with a misdemeanor offense of theft of government property (for fraudulent mileage reimbursements).
  • Lisa Thornberry and Ian McCown were charged with conspiring with each other to steal mail and possessing stolen mail;
  • Chelsea Green, a former mail carrier, was charged with bank fraud for allegedly misusing a USPS-issued gas card and fraudulently using the PIN of another USPS employee to fuel her personal vehicle;
  • James Freeman, a former mail carrier, was charged with bank fraud for allegedly misusing a USPS-issued gas card;
  • Mary Williams, a former USPS sales associate, was charged with making a false entry in an official record related to her alleged embezzlement of funds from USPS;
  • Victoria Uribe, a former USPS sales associate, was charged with making a false entry in an official record related to her alleged embezzlement of funds from USPS;
  • Lucy Plambeck, a former USPS sales associate, was charged with making a false entry in an official record related to her alleged embezzlement of funds from USPS;
  • Monica Cavalier, a former sales associate, was charged with making a false entry in an official record related to the sale of stamps related to her alleged embezzlement of funds from USPS;
  • Johnnie Macon, a former postal support employee, who was charged with embezzlement of postal funds and making a false entry in an official record related to the fraudulent voiding of postal money orders;
  • Gary Nygard, a former contract driver, was charged with conspiracy to steal government property by siphoning approximately 385 gallons of diesel fuel (paid for by USPS) from contractor trucks;
  • Raymond Coffin, a mail carrier, was charged with bank fraud for allegedly misusing a USPS-issued gas card;
  • Eugene Brown was charged with making a false statement relating to his criminal history in his employment application to work for the USPS;

The press release notes an indictment or criminal information contains allegations a defendant has committed a crime but is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

© 2016 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

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About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.

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