June 24. 2022
Fraud Friday – U.S. Postal Service Employees Charged for Loan Fraud and Unemployment Benefits Fraud
“Thousands of Illinois residents and small businesses were forced to rely on unemployment benefits and loans from the SBA during the height of the pandemic,” Attorney General Kwame Raoul says. “Thieves who intentionally took advantage of the situation to steal money from the government also slowed the processing of legitimate claims. I am committed to continued collaborations through the Task Force on Unemployment Insurance Benefits Fraud to ensure individuals are held accountable for their actions at a time when many Americans desperately needed assistance.”
Davonte Kendall, Bria Taylor, Imani Butler, Raven Daniel, Louis K. Lay Jr., and Erica Beck have 65 felony counts in total including theft by deception, state benefits fraud, loan fraud, wire fraud, and forgery. An investigation was launched when the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General was informed that some of the Postal Service employees were receiving paychecks while also obtaining unemployment benefits.
It is alleged that the six former or current U.S. Postal Service employees fraudulently sought EIDL and PPP loans from the SBA for businesses that were not real. In addition to this fraud scheme, they are being charged with applying for fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits through the state of Illinois despite their job working for the Postal Service.
Two of the conspirators that are married and are still employed by the Postal Service, Lay and Beck, also face charges relating to an alleged scheme to steal $25,000 in economic impact payments from residents in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.
“These charges represent our commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to maintain the integrity and trust in U.S. Postal Service employees and critical benefit programs,” says Special Agent-in-Charge Andre Martin, Central Area Field Office, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. “The majority of postal employees are hard-working dedicated public servants. Those charged betrayed the public’s trust and the USPS OIG, along with the law enforcement community, remain committed to safeguarding the integrity of the Postal Service and its employees.”