An Illinois grandmother’s $500 birthday gift was among the cash stolen by a postal service employee who has confessed to the crime. On November 15, authorities arrested Porcia Denise Rhodes from St. Louis, Missouri for her involvement in mail theft and bank fraud.
Rhodes has pleaded guilty to both charges, as stated in a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The plea was made in a U.S. District Court in St. Louis. On July 3, 2022, the U.S. Postal Service hired a 27-year-old as a mail processing clerk. Rhodes was employed at both the Metro Annex and St. Louis Processing and Distribution Center.
Upon taking on the job, Rhodes wasted no time in sifting through the mail to search for checks that she could promptly deposit into her personal bank account. Authorities suspect that the woman has stolen approximately 21 checks, with a total amount of $5,035.
According to The Fresno Bee, Rhodes’ plea deal specifies that she purportedly took the stolen checks, erased the payee’s name, and substituted it with her own. In July 2022, a grandmother from Illinois mailed a birthday card to her grandson in Florida that contained a $500 check. This serves as an example given by authorities. Rhodes’ plea agreement reveals that one of the checks she stole was the generous gift that never arrived.
Authorities suspect that more than 10 individuals and businesses were affected by her actions at the processing center. According to the press release, Rhodes could potentially spend 30 years behind bars and face a hefty $1 million fine for the bank fraud charge. Furthermore, the theft could result in her facing a prison sentence of up to five years and a hefty fine of $250,000. The hearing for Rhodes has been scheduled for February 12th.
On December 7, Olivia Bryant of Chicago will be sentenced for stealing checks from the mail, to which she pleaded guilty. Between December 2020 and March 2021, the ex-postal carrier stole numerous checks, including Covid stimulus checks, many of which were from the U.S. Treasury. According to court records, on a single day in March, Bryan stole 11 pieces of First Class mail, to which she pleaded guilty on September 14th. The package consisted of various checks, including a $250 treasury check, a check for $551 in social security benefits, a $212 tax refund, as well as treasury checks worth $135 and $17.62.
He could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of five years in a federal prison.
The U.S. Postal Service has issued a warning to its employees reminding them not to violate the trust of the public. This comes after the recent sentencing of a woman who stole marijuana from the mail and made a substantial profit by selling it. It is crucial for postal workers to uphold the integrity of their job and refrain from any illegal or unethical activities. The Postal Service takes its responsibility to the public very seriously and expects its employees to do the same.
According to Kenneth Bulle, who serves at the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General of the Western Pacific Area Field Office, the sentencing today highlights the significance of the public’s trust in the USPS. The consequences of a USPS employee breaking that trust through theft were also emphasized.
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