EAST NEW YORK – Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on Monday that a postal worker and three co-defendants were charged in connection with a check stealing scheme in which they stole from the mail more than $29,000 in funds intended for homeless and impoverished New Yorkers.
Vanessa Bandie (29) of Canarsie and East New York residents Lauren Johnson (27), Paul Daniels (30), and James Black (30), were arraigned yesterday at Brooklyn Supreme Court in a 21-count indictment with charges ranging from grand larceny, bribe receiving, scheme to defraud, identity theft, petit larceny, and official misconduct.
According to the investigation, between October 25 and December 27, 2016, the defendants worked together stealing approximately $29,200 in checks ranging from less than $100 to more than $1,000 from 66 people, including $3,700 worth of checks from eight residents of a facility that serves the homeless.
Black reportedly instructed Bandie, a mail carrier, to find envelopes from her East New York route that appeared to contain checks. She and Johnson reportedly rifled through mail bags searching for envelopes from the NYC Human Resources Administration and other social service agencies.
Bandie and Johnson then allegedly took the checks to a Pay-O-Matic on Linden Boulevard where Daniels worked. Daniels cashed the checks illegally for the pair for a cut of the proceeds. The group’s scheme was uncovered by a Pay-O-Matic security director who noticed “irregularities in Daniels’ work and reported it to inspectors for the U.S. Postal Service.”
Johnson, Daniels, and Black are scheduled to return to court on November 28, 2018. Bandie is due back in court court on December 5, 2018.
“A former postal employee entrusted with the public’s most important and private mail, allegedly violated that trust when she and her co-defendants allegedly pilfered the mail and stole from the most vulnerable among us, including residents of homeless shelters,” District Attorney Gonzalez said in a statement. “We will now seek to hold them accountable.”