Former postal worker pleads guilty to stealing nearly $3M from mail
4:56 pm, December 3rd, 2012
A Stockbridge man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Atlanta to stealing more than 1,300 U.S. Treasury checks worth more than $2.8 million, federal prosecutors announced.
Gerald Eason, 47 – a former U.S. Postal Service supervisor at a mail distribution facility in Atlanta—entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell Jr. Eason admitted that he conspired with another postal worker, Deborah Fambro-Echols, 49, of Hapeville at the same facility to steal cash and other checks.
Fambro-Echols and five other defendants also have entered guilty pleas for their roles in the theft scheme.
Eason pleaded guilty to seven charges, including conspiracy, theft of government funds, and possession of stolen U.S. Treasury checks, federal prosecutors said. Fambro-Echols pleaded guilty to conspiracy and theft of government funds. The defendants face possible maximum sentences of five to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million per count.
The charges against Eason, Fambro-Echols and others stemmed from a task force created by the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta last year to address the problem of stolen U.S. Treasury checks in Georgia.
At the time, Georgia ranked third in the country in the number of federal tax refund, Social Security and veterans checks that were reported stolen by the intended recipients, U.S. Attorney Sally Yates said today.
“With today’s pleas, we have taken two corrupt postal workers, including a supervisor, off the streets who were responsible for stealing thousands of checks,” Yates said. “We will continue to target these theft rings – both those on the inside and their network of check cashers – to address this serious problem.”
Eason worked as a supervisor at the Atlanta Processing and Distribution Center, one of the postal service’s centralized mail distribution centers in Atlanta, according to prosecutors. While at work, Eason and Fambro-Echols stole thousands of U.S. Treasury checks and provided them to a network of brokers and check cashers who would then cash the checks and split the proceeds with Eason and Fambro-Echols, prosecutors said.
The brokers and checkers forged endorsements on the checks and used fake identification to pose as the checks’ intended recipients when they cashed them, prosecutors said.
Federal agents recorded Eason on two days last March when he stole more than 1,300 government checks. Agents recorded Eason taking the checks and then followed him to a residence where he was arrested while attempting to collect his cut of the proceeds, prosecutors said.