Former postal worker admits to stealing millions in checks from mail

Kalaijha Tomeco Rainier Lewis, right, and Brian Christopher Williams III, left, pleaded guilty...
Kalaijha Tomeco Rainier Lewis, proper, and Brian Christopher Williams III, left, pleaded responsible in federal court docket to conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud.(Cellular County Metro Jail)

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA/Grey Information) – Two folks, together with a former postal employee, admitted Tuesday to a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of {dollars}’ value of enterprise checks despatched by the mail.

Kalaijha Tomeco Rainier Lewis and Brian Christopher Williams III pleaded responsible in federal court docket to conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud.

The offense carries a most penalty of 30 years in jail, though prosecutors have agreed to advocate leniency. As well as, the defendants have the chance for an additional sentencing break in the event that they cooperate with prosecuting co-conspirators. A decide set sentencing for January.

Lewis, who labored as a clerk at a Cellular downtown put up workplace, admitted that she took stacks of enterprise checks over a roughly three-month interval this yr after which bought them to Williams. He and others then bought the checks on-line by an encrypted messaging platform referred to as Telegram, based on Lewis’ written plea settlement. The entire worth of the stolen checks posted on the channel exceeded $17.7 million, based on the doc.

U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigators started wanting into complaints made in January by a number of Cellular-area companies that had not acquired checks they have been anticipating.

In a single instance contained within the plea settlement, a marine enterprise with a put up workplace field on the put up workplace reported not receiving a $39,916 verify from a vendor in February. The following month, a common contractor in Cellular mailed a $58,184 verify to a legislation agency. The verify was deposited right into a checking account of an unauthorized particular person, based on the plea settlement.

Dozens of companies, most primarily based in Cellular, made related complaints to the U.S. Postal Service about stolen or counterfeit checks of their names.

In line with the plea doc, investigators started surveillance of the put up workplace in June and noticed Lewis, 29, of Cellular, manipulating the windowed envelopes of checks to see the quantities. In addition they noticed her sending textual content messages whereas putting her mobile phone on prime of sure items of mail, the plea doc states.

On June 23, brokers recorded Lewis untuck her shirt and shove a number of items of mail down her pants. Caught red-handed by brokers who confronted her that day, Lewis eliminated 26 enterprise checks from her pants. She advised investigators that Williams, 25, of Theodore, paid her $2,000 to $3,000 per stack of stolen checks.

In line with court docket data, Lewis agreed to satisfy Williams at a fuel station. Legislation enforcement officers recorded her handing stolen checks to him. They arrested him on an impressive warrant, charging him with first-degree assault.

In line with Lewis’ plea doc, officers discovered 53 stolen enterprise checks totaling $417,238 in Williams’ 2023 Kia Sportage, which they seized from Sage Avenue in Cellular. Authorities additionally discovered eight credit score or debit playing cards, based on Lewis’ plea settlement.

The plea doc additionally cites incriminating proof on cell telephones containing dozens of messages discussing meet-ups in Birmingham, Homewood, Greenville and Saraland. In a single message discussing a meet-up on June 15 with a co-conspirator, based on the plea doc, Lewis wrote: “No police within the rain it actually rain each time I get on the highway.”

Investigators additionally documented giant money infusions from CashApp into Lewis’ credit score union account.

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