Los Angeles police arrested two U.S. Postal Service workers on Wednesday for allegedly abusing their authority to purchase postal money orders using thousands of dollars worth of California unemployment benefits they got through false claims amid massive job losses.
In a press release, the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office revealed a criminal complaint was unsealed on March 3, which showed several charges, including conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, access device fraud, and fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits.
On Wednesday afternoon, the two suspects, 31-year-old Christian Jeremyah James and 32-year-old Armand Caleb Legardy, were expected to make their first appearances in a Los Angeles court.
The two men worked at different Los Angeles-area post officers and are accused of possessing debit cards the California Employment Development Department issued based on ten stolen identity applications.
“Both James and Legardy used the fraudulently obtained EDD debit cards to purchase Postal money orders and cash Postal money orders that had been purchased with those debit cards, according to the complaint, which notes instances in which unidentified individuals used the EDD debit cards to purchase Postal money orders from the defendants while they were on duty at the Post Office,” the release said.
Officials believe the two suspects used the EDD debit cards, which contained other people’s names, to take money from ATMs. The release said the ten fraudulent EDD debit cards were used to cash in a total of $168,758 in purchases and $31,133 in ATM cash withdrawals as of late December, the Associated Press reported.
Despite the charges, the complaint did not accuse the suspects of submitting fraudulent applications to the EDD.