A United States Postal Service mail carrier was arrested Thursday, May 26, for allegedly scheming to steal $800,000 in unemployment insurance funds by using false claims of COVID-related job losses and stealing unemployment debit cards from the U.S. mail.
Stephen Glover, 32, of Palmdale, who worked at the Valencia post office, is charged with one count of mail fraud, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Travis McKenzie, 26, of Valencia, who lived on Glover’s mail delivery route, was also charged with one count of mail fraud.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, from August 2020 to February 2021, Glover and McKenzie fraudulently obtained debit cards issued by the California Employment Development Department, which administers the state’s unemployment insurance program. The debit cards were issued based on applications for pandemic-related unemployment benefits submitted using approximately 50 stolen identities and containing false statements claiming COVID-related job losses, the affidavit states.
The EDD debit cards were issued in the names of victims, some of whom had never resided in, worked in, or even visited California. Glover and McKenzie allegedly split the cash withdrawn using the EDD debit cards, some of which had balances exceeding $30,000, court papers show. The scheme allegedly involved more than 50 fraudulent claims to EDD, which resulted in EDD issuing cards that had $798,733 in funds in those names, of which at least $318,771 has been withdrawn from the debit cards, federal prosecutors said.
Glover also allegedly stole mail containing more than $20,000 in personal and business checks belonging to others. Law enforcement executed search warrants at Glover’s, McKenzie’s, and Glover’s girlfriend’s residences in the spring of 2021, during which they found more than 200 pieces of stolen and EDD-related mail, including more than 15 EDD debit cards, according to the affidavit.
In addition to defrauding the California EDD, Glover and McKenzie’s scheme also fraudulently obtained debit cards from the Virginia Employment Commission, the affidavit alleges.
If convicted of the mail fraud offense alleged in the complaint, Glover and McKenzie would each face up to 20 years in federal prison, prosecutors noted.