A United States Postal Service worker was arrested and charged in federal court with stealing thousands of money orders, worth millions of dollars, from a post office on Utica Avenue in East Flatbush.
Jaleesa Wallace, 30, was arraigned in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon in front of Judge James Cho for stealing the money orders from the Rugby Post Office, also known as the Utica Avenue Post Office, where she worked as a USPS employee. A co-conspirator, Willie Cook, was also arrested in the scheme, and was released on $25,000 bond.
Investigators found over 3,000 blank money orders, which could potentially be worth up to $3 million, at Wallace’s Brownsville home after executing a search warrant, according to a complaint filed in court. About $1.4 million had already been cashed, prosecutors said. Investigators also found over $42,000 in cash, 37 prepaid Department of Labor unemployment benefits cards, and 42 pieces of Labor Department mail not in her name.
“As alleged, the defendant, a trusted public servant, pilfered thousands of postal money orders from the Postal Service and had in her possession Department of Labor unemployment benefit cards, giving her and her co-conspirator access to more than $3 million in cash,” said US Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis in a statement. “This Office will vigorously prosecute government employees who exploit their positions for personal gain and abuse the public trust.”
The station manager placed an order for 10,000 blank money orders, which can be deposited for up to $1,000 each, on February 1, and they were delivered on February 13, but were never entered into the facility’s system. The station manager ordered a new batch of money orders and reported the initial batch missing.
Law enforcement searched Cook’s house on July 9, after Cook, who doesn’t work for the USPS, had posted pictures of the contraband on the messaging app Telegram with the caption “let’s eat.” Investigators found 300 of the stolen money orders, 21 credit cards not in his name, including unemployment benefits cards, and $1,200 cash. Cook was arrested and cooperated with investigators, telling them that he was only “holding” some of the money orders for Wallace, who had two large boxes of them at her house.
Cops searched Wallace’s house later that day. Wallace was in New Jersey at the time and wasn’t apprehended until Tuesday.