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Former United States Postal Service Employee Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Stealing Blank Money Orders Valued at Over $4 Million

January 5, 2023

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Defendant Also Found in Possession of Stolen Unemployment Benefits Cards

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Jaleesa Wallace was sentenced by United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon to 30 months in prison for postal theft. As part of her sentence, Wallace was also ordered to pay over $4 million in restitution.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Matthew Modafferi, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office (USPS-OIG), announced the sentence.

“The defendant exploited her position with one of our most trusted institutions, the United States Postal Service, for her own personal gain and caused significant losses to financial institutions,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “Residents of the district need to be confident that postal employees carry out their duties honestly and that important documents can travel safely in the mail.”

Mr. Peace also expressed his thanks to the United States Postal Inspection Service, New York Division, and the New York City Police Department for their diligent efforts on the case.

“The Special Agents of the USPS OIG will vigorously investigate Postal Service employees who compromise their integrity for personal gain. The sentence imposed on the defendant will serve as a reminder that there are severe consequences when individuals utilize their Postal position to commit crimes,” stated USPS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Modafferi. “The U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General would like to thank our law enforcement partners and the Department of Justice for their dedication and efforts in this investigation.”

As set forth in court filings, in February 2021, 10,000 blank money orders were reported missing from a USPS post office on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn where Wallace worked.  The money orders can be deposited with a financial institution for up to $1,000 each.  Agents recovered over 3,000 of the stolen money orders from Wallace’s residence.  Over $4 million worth of the stolen money orders have been cashed at various financial institutions throughout the country. Agents also recovered prepaid Department of Labor unemployment benefit cards and approximately $43,000 in cash from Wallace’s apartment. Additionally, Wallace was in possession of approximately 42 pieces of mail from the Department of Labor that were not in her name.

Wallace was terminated by the USPS in August 2021. She forfeited the cash seized from her apartment to the United States Postal Inspection Service. A related defendant, Willie Cook, pleaded guilty to mail theft in March 2022 and is awaiting sentencing.

The government’s case was handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section. Assistant United States Attorney Samantha Alessi is in charge of the prosecution.

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