A United States Postal Service mail carrier from Palmdale was arrested Thursday for allegedly conspiring to steal about $800,000 in unemployment insurance funds through false claims of COVID-related job losses and stealing debit cards from the US mail, authorities said.
Stephen Glover, 32, Travis McKenzie, 26, of Valencia, who worked at the Valencia Post Office, and who lived on the Glover mail delivery route, is expected to appear in court for the first time Thursday afternoon at the Center of Los Angeles.
A criminal complaint filed May 13 and unsealed after Thursday’s arrests charges both Glover and McKenzie with one count of mail fraud, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
From August 2020 through February 2021, Glover and McKenzie fraudulently obtained debit cards issued by the California Employment Development Department (EDD), which administers the state’s unemployment insurance program, according to the affidavit in support. of the criminal complaint.
The debit cards were issued based on pandemic-related unemployment benefits claims filed with approximately 50 stolen identities and containing false statements claiming COVID-related job losses, the affidavit states.
The EDD debit cards were issued in the names of the victims, some of whom had never lived, worked, or visited California.
Glover and McKenzie allegedly split the withdrawn cash using EDD debit cards, some of which had balances greater than $30,000, the US Attorney’s Office said.
The scheme allegedly involved more than 50 fraudulent claims to EDD, resulting in EDD issuing cards that had approximately $798,733 in funds in those names, of which at least $318,771 was withdrawn from debit cards, according to a news release.
Glover also allegedly stole mail containing more than $20,000 in personal and business checks belonging to others, the US. the prosecution said.
Police executed search warrants at the residences of Glover, McKenzie and Glover’s girlfriend in the spring of 2021, during which they found more than 200 pieces of EDD-related and stolen mail, including more than 15 EDD debit cards, according to the affidavit.
In addition to defrauding the California EDD, Glover and McKenzie’s scheme also fraudulently obtained Virginia Employment Commission debit cards, the affidavit alleges.
If convicted of the felony mail fraud alleged in the complaint, Glover and McKenzie would each face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, California Employment Development Department Investigations, and the California Department of Labor. Sheriff of Los Angeles.
Suggest a fix