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Published on June 12, 2024
Former Brockton Postal Worker Sentenced to 18 Months for Embezzlement and Wire FraudSource: Unsplash/ Giorgio Trovato

A former U.S. Postal Service employee has been handed an 18-month prison sentence after being found guilty on charges of embezzlement and wire fraud, including the theft of nearly $90,000 in postal money orders and illegitimately claiming over $15,000 in unemployment benefits. Jamesa Rankins, 27, of Brockton, faced the justice system after a federal jury convicted her of one count of theft of government money and three counts of wire fraud last November.

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, during her tenure as a Sales & Service Distribution Associate at the Montello Post office in Brockton, Rankins abused her access to the postal money order system. She did this by issuing about 126 fictitious replacement money orders to an associate. These money orders supposedly replaced ones that were lost or damaged but in reality were perfectly valid. The impact of her maneuvering was twofold: it effectively invalidated genuine money orders while lining the pockets of Rankins and her associate to the tune of nearly $90,000.

Furthermore, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Rankins exploited the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance by falsely applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The twist in the tale comes with the revelation that during this period, Rankins was fully employed by USPS, making her ineligible for the benefits she claimed, which amounted to at least $15,000. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns imposed the sentence, and Rankins must also face three years of supervised release and pay restitution of $104,698.

The case was part of an increased crackdown on pandemic-related fraud, a focus made clear when the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force was created back in May 2021 by the Attorney General. This initiative is aimed at corralling government agencies to bolster efforts in preventing and prosecuting fraudulent activities linked to the pandemic. The public also plays a crucial role, and anyone with information about possible COVID-19 fraud is encouraged to report it to the Department of Justice's National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline or through their online complaint form.