A former postal worker charged with mail fraud and allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID-19 relief money pleaded guilty to the charges levied against him in federal court on Monday, according to prosecutors.
Stephen Glover, 32, of Palmdale, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and theft of mail matter by an officer or employee in connection to a scheme he operated while working at a United States Post Office in Valencia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Glover had been arrested earlier this year alongside his alleged co-conspirator, Travis McKenzie, 26, of Valencia, who lived on the mailman’s local route. McKenzie is also expected to plead guilty on Wednesday.
The charges against the two men were filed after investigators believed the two had conducted a scheme to fraudulently obtain debit cards issued by the California Employment Development Department, or EDD, from August 2020 to June 2021.
“Glover admitted to abusing his position as a USPS mail carrier by providing co-schemers addresses on his mail route, which his co-schemers then used as mailing addresses on the fraudulent EDD applications,” reads a statement distributed by the Central District of California U.S. Attorney’s Office on Monday. “After EDD mailed debit cards to those addresses, Glover intercepted and stole that mail.”
Additionally, Glover is believed to have stolen legitimate EDD debit cards from intended recipients on his mail route, as well as more than 10 personal and business checks payable to others and unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He also activated the debit cards in other people’s names by calling EDD and using PINs he had discovered from stolen EDD mail,” prosecutors said. “During a search of his girlfriend’s residence in June 2021, law enforcement found 37 pieces of mail from EDD address to 15 different individuals.”
At the same time that Glover was conducting his scheme, McKenzie admitted to possessing 150 pieces of mail from EDD addressed to more than 50 different names, according to prosecutors.
“McKenzie further admitted to using cash withdrawn from ATMs using EDD debit cards to purchase items from luxury retailers including Louis Vuitton and Prada handbags from luxury retailers Nieman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue,” prosecutors said.
The 26-year-old has been charged on one count each of mail fraud, mail theft and identity theft.
In total, the two are accused of having stolen more than $871,000 and possessing hundreds of pieces of stolen mail.
“United States District Judge Percy Anderson scheduled a Sept. 19 sentencing hearing, at which time Glover will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on the mail fraud count and five years in federal prison on the mail theft count,” reads the statement. “Upon entering his guilty plea, McKenzie will face a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.”