BROOKLYN — A USPS worker and a co-conspirator were charged with stealing blank postal money orders and unemployment benefits cards in Brooklyn Wednesday, a U.S. Attorney said.
The charges stem from an investigation that began in February, when 10,000 blank postal money orders were reported missing from the Utica Avenue Post Office in Brooklyn. Last Friday, federal agents executed search warrants and recovered over 3,000 of the stolen orders from the Brooklyn residence of 30-year-old Jalessa Wallace. They found another 300 at the residence of 34-year-old Willie Cook, her alleged co-conspirator.
At least $1.4 million worth of the stolen postal money orders had been cashed. Agents also recovered prepaid Department of Labor unemployment benefit cards and over $42,000 in cash from both apartments. Additionally, Wallace was in possession of approximately 42 pieces of mail from the Department of Labor that were not in her name.
Cook posted photos of stolen postal money orders on the social media app Telegram with the caption “let’s eat,” referring to getting paid for the postal money orders. Cook is not a USPS employee.
Wallace was arrested Wednesday morning and her initial appearance is scheduled for this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge James R. Cho. Cook was arrested last Friday and released on $25,000 bond.
“As alleged, the defendant, a trusted public servant, pilfered thousands of postal money orders from the Postal Service and had in her possession Department of Labor unemployment benefit cards, giving her and her co-conspirator access to more than $3 million in cash,” stated United States Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis. “This Office will vigorously prosecute government employees who exploit their positions for personal gain and abuse the public trust.”