Seven individuals, including two former postal carriers, have been charged in a financial crimes and money laundering scheme involving the United States Postal Service, according to the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office.
It is alleged the scheme lasted for 16 months and swindled more than $50,000 from approximately 40 victims, most of whom live in Naperville.
State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said the scheme involved stealing credit and debit cards from the mail, then activating those cards to buy gift cards before finally exchanging the gift cards for cash.
“When you’re expecting a credit or debit card that people really rely on because your card is expiring and it doesn’t show up and then you find out that there’s fraudulent activity on the card, it’s a huge violation,” Berlin said. “It’s a personal violation. But it’s a violation of the public trust.”
The Naperville Police Department and U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General investigated the case.
Defendants Shavonna Taylor, 33, and Ariel Jakes, 21, who were active mail carriers at the time of the alleged scheme, have been charged with mail fraud and wire fraud.
Vosheaa Haynes, 36, of Aurora has been charged with two counts of Organizer of a Continuing Financial Crimes Enterprise, one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of identity theft.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General said if Postal Service customers feel they might have been a victim of mail theft, they are urged to contact a hotline at www.uspsoig.gov/hotline or 1-888-USPS-OIG.