Former United States Post Office Letter Carrier Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge for Stealing Mail
Baltimore, Maryland – Daniyelle Barnes, age 27, of Randallstown Maryland, pleaded guilty on December 21, 2020, to federal charges of mail theft by an employee. Barnes was employed by the United States Post Office (USPS) as a Letter Carrier at the Randallstown Post Office. Barnes admitted stealing mail, including credit cards contained within mail pieces.
The guilty plea was announced by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Imari R. Niles of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General; and Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department.
According to the plea agreement, in July 2019, Baltimore County Police Department (BCPD) officers recovered more than 12 genuine credit cards from a suspect during a traffic stop. The 12 credit cards were embossed with the names of Randallstown residents who resided along Barnes’s mail route. On July 25, 2019, investigators executed a search warrant at an apartment located in Owings Mills, Maryland that was not associated with Barnes and recovered counterfeit identification documents, at least 12 additional stolen credit/debit cards issued to individuals not residing at the residence, mail and financial correspondence addressed to real persons not residing at the residence, and several cell phones and other electronic devices. Six of the credit/debit cards were in the names of the Randallstown residents on Barnes’s mail delivery route and came from stolen mail.
On December 18, 2019, law enforcement conducted an operation to investigate whether Barnes was stealing mail from her mail route by having two sealed, identifiable mail pieces from a bank, which contained credit cards issued to fictitious persons, placed among the mail that Barnes was supposed to deliver that day. These identifiable mail pieces featured addresses that were outside of Barnes’s route, and if Barnes followed proper protocols, would not be taken on her route. Instead, during law enforcement surveillance of Barnes, she was seen handling the “bait” mail pieces, feeling for a potential credit or debit card inside the envelope, and then placing the two identifiable mail pieces inside her letter carrier case. Later, law enforcement saw Barnes rubber-band together approximately 10 mail pieces, including the two pieces of bait mail. Barnes concealed this bundle in the back of a letter tray that contained mail pieces for her route, left the Post Office building and placed items into her assigned work vehicle. Barnes briefly stopped by her personal vehicle before returning to her work vehicle and heading out on her mail route. When Barnes returned to the Post Office at about 4:00 p.m., law enforcement officials saw her unload a number of items, including bags, into the front passenger seat of her personal vehicle. Barnes then went back into the building and sorted a number of mail pieces. Barnes did not place the two identifiable mail pieces into the proper area for missent letters.
Law enforcement interviewed Barnes after advising her of her rights. Barnes admitted to stealing mail and giving it to another person, whose full identity she claimed not to know. She stated that she provided credit/debit card mail pieces to this person at least 10 to 12 times beginning in June 2019. Barnes consented to a search of her personal vehicle and law enforcement discovered numerous pieces of unopened, undelivered mail, including the two identifiable bait mail pieces and other mail addressed to real persons residing in Randallstown.
Law enforcement obtained records from financial institutions corresponding to the credit cards recovered during the investigation that were issued to persons on Barnes’s mail route. Those records indicated a total loss amount of $4,198.74 and a further attempted loss amount of $2,292.11 associated with those accounts. As part of her plea agreement, Barnes will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the actual loss, which the parties agree is at least $4,198.74.
Barnes faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for mail theft by a USPS employee. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for February 25, 2021 at 2:30 p.m.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the USPS Office of Inspector General and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel A. Loveland, Jr. and Tamera L. Fine, who are prosecuting the case.