A FORMER mail carrier is heading to prison for swiping stimulus checks along with going on a spending spree with other peoples’ ATM and gift cards.
Angela Gomez, 40, of Lynn, Massachusetts was sentenced on Friday to three months in prison and must pay back her victims.
She originally pleaded guilty in May to stealing four US Treasury Economic Impact Payment (EIP) checks worth about $5,000 and running up a shopping bill of more than $10,000 in fraudulent debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals, federal prosecutors in Boston confirmed.
As part of her plea to one count of theft of mail by an employee, Gomez must serve three years probation upon her release and “agreed to pay $21,387 in restitution to the victims.”
Of all of the cashGomez bilked from her postal customers, the four stimulus checks totaling $4,800 were perhaps the most egregious.
The federal government has supported hard-hit Americans with three rounds of "relief payments" as part of the $350billion American Rescue Plan Act enacted on March 11 to help offset the economic harm wrought by the Covid-19 crisis.
Americans all over the country counted on the monies, many of them expecting as much as $1,400 aid to arrive in the mail and appearing as "a white envelope from the U.S. Department of the Treasury."
Authorities started surveilling Gomez early last year, after one of her United States Postal Office (USPS) residents on her route “reported missing mail.”
One customer who was awaiting the arrival of a Lilly Pulitzer gift card was left wondering what happened to it.
Investigators discovered that Gomez “handled that particular customer’s route.”
The card wasn’t lost, prosecutors stated.
In fact, it was used in January for purchases that were “delivered to Gomez’s then-home address” and the email address used to buy the items “belonged to Gomez,” the prosecutors confirmed in Friday’s release.
With Gomez on the radar for investigators, she was being watched delivering her rounds of mail.
STOLE 21 TIMES
However, authorities maintain Gomez was witnessed having “rifled through and stole mail on 21 separate occasions.”
Other mail customers were duped by Gomez.
Prosecutors say that she made “unauthorized” purchase and withdrawals from Eastern Bank accounts “owned by individuals who resided on the carrier route Gomez was assigned to.”
WALMART AND TARGET FREEBIES
CCTV video further confirmed Gomez completing several debit purchases while buying goods at both Walmart and Target shops.
She also was seen on bank security video footage “making unauthorized cash withdrawals” from the three Eastern Bank accounts totaling $16,587.
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