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U.S. Postal Worker Is Indicted For Conspiracy To Commit Bank Fraud And Money Laundering

July 25, 2023

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » United States Department of Justice

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal indictment was unsealed in court today, following the arrest and initial appearance of Jakia McMorris, 32, of Charlotte, who is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Jeff Krafels, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General (USPS-OIG) for the Mid-Atlantic Area Field Office (MAAFO), and Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which oversees Charlotte, join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

According to allegations in the indictment, from at least May 2021, McMorris was an employee of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), working as a city carrier at the North Tryon Station in Charlotte. The indictment alleges that on or around September 13, 2021, McMorris reported that, while she was delivering mail, she lost a USPS universal key that could open many U.S. mailboxes. After that day, McMorris allegedly stopped reporting for work at the USPS.

According to allegations in the indictment, beginning in September 2021, McMorris and her co-conspirators executed a scheme to commit bank fraud by stealing more than $40,000 in checks, including from the U.S. mail. The indictment alleges that the co-conspirators used stolen universal USPS keys to open multi-unit outdoor mailboxes in Charlotte and steal mail. The stolen mail included business checks.

As part of the scheme, the indictment alleges that the co-conspirators deposited the stolen checks into bank accounts they controlled, including in bank accounts in McMorris’s name. It is alleged that the co-conspirators then quickly withdrew the cash from the accounts before the banks detected the fraud. McMorris allegedly received a portion of the funds as payment for using her bank accounts to perpetuate the scheme. As part of the conspiracy, the indictment also alleges that the co-conspirators attempted to disguise the payments made to the defendant by using the fraudulent proceeds in McMorris’s bank account to purchase money orders, which McMorris then deposited back into her bank accounts.

McMorris was released on bond following her initial appearance in federal court today. The bank fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,00 fine.

The charges in the indictment are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked USPS-OIG for the investigation which led to the charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny Sugar with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.

* * *

In a separate case, federal charges were filed against Douglas Gumbs, 38, of Charlotte, for mail theft and related charges. According to allegations in the indictment, from 2022 to April 2023, Gumbs engaged in a mail theft and bank fraud scheme by stealing large quantities of U.S. mail from residential and business mailboxes in Charlotte. The stolen mail included business and individual checks, credit cards, tax forms, and other financial information. In 2022, Gumbs allegedly was found with more than 850 individual pieces of stolen mail.

The indictment alleges that Gumbs deposited the stolen checks into bank accounts he controlled and withdrew the funds before the financial institutions learned that the deposited checks were stolen. The indictment further alleges that Gumbs engaged in identity theft by creating false identification documents in the names of individuals whose mail Gumbs’ had stolen. Gumbs then allegedly used the victims’ stolen identities in furtherance of the fraud, including to access the victims’ bank accounts and to open new bank accounts in some of the identity theft victims’ names.

Gumbs is currently in federal custody. He is charged with receipt and possession of stolen mail, theft of mail left for collection, destruction of letter boxes and bank fraud. The receipt and possession of stolen mail and theft of mail left for collection charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The destruction of letter boxes charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a$250,000 fine. The bank fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The charges against Gumbs are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The FBI in Charlotte and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Caryn Finley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.

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