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Former Postal Employee Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison for Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Theft of a Postal Service Key

February 23, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » United States Department of Justice

MOBILE, AL – A Mobile woman was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, and theft of a United States Postal Service (“USPS”) key.

According to court documents and evidence presented at a November 2023 trial, Kristen Arieale Williams, 32, was employed as a mail carrier at the post office in Prichard. The jury heard evidence that in late October 2022, Williams stole and sold a USPS “arrow” key to a coconspirator. Arrow keys are government property and will open, among other things, all blue USPS collection boxes in a particular geographic area. Stealing and possessing such a key with fraudulent intent is a federal crime. Williams’s coconspirator paid Williams $2,500 in cash for the key. Law enforcement caught Williams’s coconspirator using the key to steal mail from collection boxes outside the Bel Air Mall in Mobile in November 2022. The coconspirator stole hundreds of pieces of mail using the key.

Trial evidence showed that Williams also conspired to commit bank fraud involving counterfeit checks deposited into her bank account. The counterfeit checks were derived from checks stolen from the mail and bore the true names, addresses, and bank account numbers of multiple victims who testified at trial. The jury reviewed incriminating text messages and other data extracted from Williams’s cell phone and the cell phone of a coconspirator. The jury also heard excerpts of a recorded confession that Williams gave to law enforcement in March 2023. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Kristi K. DuBose applied an obstruction-of-justice enhancement, finding that Williams lied during sworn testimony that she gave at trial.

In addition to the 30-month prison sentence, Judge DuBose ordered Williams to serve a five-year term of supervised release upon her release from prison, during which time she will be subject to credit restrictions. The court did not impose a fine, but Judge DuBose ordered Williams to pay $48,334.10 in victim restitution and $500 in special assessments.

U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama made the announcement.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the USPS–Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Mobile Police Department investigated the case. The Brewton Police Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration–Office of Inspector General provided substantial assistance in the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Roller prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

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