Arrests were made and bail was issued for four of the seven named in crimes in which postal carriers allegedly stole debit and credit cards from the mail of residents of the Naperville area, in order to secure them. use in a money laundering scheme.
The 11 charges laid in DuPage County are named Vosheaa Haynes 36, of Aurora; Shavonna Taylor, 33, of Aurora; Ariel Jakes, 21, of Naperville; Deyona Tucker, 30, of Chicago; Laketha Britton, 27, of Chicago; Octavia, May 29, from RomÃ©oville; and Stephanie Brown, 35, of Chicago, according to a press release from the DuPage County District Attorney’s Office.
Authorities charge the defendants with exchanging gift cards for cash as part of a scheme involving postal carriers Taylor and Jakes, which delivered mail throughout Naperville. They allegedly stole credit / debit cards in the mail and turned them over to Haynes.
Authorities say Haynes and other defendants would activate the stolen credit / debit cards and then use them to purchase Visa / MasterCard gift cards at various stores, including Home Depot, Walmart and Sam’s Club. It is alleged that they would then visit currency exchange offices in Oak Park and Chicago where they could exchange the gift cards for cash.
According to the press release, an investigation was opened when victims whose debit cards were due to expire never received their new replacement cards. Court officials allege that the defendants defrauded more than $ 50,000 from approximately 40 victims, most of whom live in Naperville.
“The charges against these seven people are the direct result of local and federal agencies working together for the common good,” DuPage County District Attorney Bob Berlin said in a statement. â€œThe allegations that these seven people, two of whom were federal government employees, stole the identities of the victims in order to line their pockets at the expense of others are very disturbing.
Haynes faces a range of felony charges including organizing an ongoing criminal enterprise, prosecuting a criminal enterprise, mail fraud, wire fraud and identity theft.
All of the other defendants were charged with corporate financial crimes and identity theft prosecutions. In addition, Taylor and Jakes face charges of mail fraud and electronic fraud. The two were identified as employees of the Postal Service at the time of the alleged scheme.
Taylor, Jakes, Brown and Hayes were all taken into custody and then released after posting bail. Britton, Tucker and May each have arrest warrants that remain in effect for $ 100,000. Judge Margaret “Peggy” O’Connell also granted a motion for a hearing to determine whether the funds Taylor used to pay the bond were illegally obtained.
The crime of theft and money laundering was uncovered through a joint investigation by officials from the DuPage County State Attorney’s Office, the Naperville Police Department and the U.S. Postal Service Office of the inspector general for the Great Lakes region field office.
Berlin thanked the Office of the Inspector General of the Postal Services of the United States as well as the Naperville Police Department for uncovering the alleged scheme and reporting it for prosecution. He also thanked Deputy State Attorney Steven Lupa for his work in unraveling this elaborate plan.
“It has been an outstanding job from our investigative staff, and I want to thank them all for their commitment to resolving this long-term case and seeking justice for the victims,” â€‹â€‹said Acting Naperville Police Chief. , Jason Arres, in a statement.
Special Agent in Charge Andre Martin, Great Lakes Region Field Office, Office of the Inspector General of Postal Services, United States, stressed the importance of working with enforcement partners. of the law to maintain integrity and trust in US mail.
“The majority of postal workers are hard-working public servants dedicated to getting mail to its proper destination,” Martin said in a statement. â€œUnfortunately, those arrested decided to betray the public trust and steal mail from postal customers.â€
The case will be heard before Justice O’Connell.
Naperville News 17 Megann Horstead reports.
If you have a story idea, we want to hear from you.
WANT TO STAY INFORMED?
Get daily news headlines straight to your inbox!