FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 21, 2013
For Information Contact:
Ohio Woman Pleads Guilty to Submitting More Than $164,000
Of False Insurance Claims to the U.S. Postal Service
-Falsely Claimed that Parcels Were Damaged or Lost in the Mail-
WASHINGTON – Levette J. Douglas, 35, of Toledo, Ohio, pled guilty today to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud for her role in a scheme that defrauded the U.S. Postal Service out of over $164,000 through the submission of false insurance claims.
The guilty plea, which took place in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Paul L. Bowman, Special Agent in Charge, Capital Metro Area Field Office, U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General.
As part of the plea agreement, Douglas agreed to $164,859 in criminal forfeiture and restitution. Under voluntary federal sentencing guidelines, she faces between 21 and 27 months in prison. The Honorable Rudolph Contreras scheduled sentencing for Jan 16, 2014.
According to the government’s evidence, from April 2010 to July 2013, Douglas and her co-conspirators submitted false claims to the Postal Service for allegedly damaged or lost parcels. As part of this scheme, Douglas and others purchased insurance for approximately 325 parcels that were sent through the mail. They later falsely claimed that the parcels were damaged or lost, often submitting forged or fictitious documents to support their claims.
For example, on one occasion, Douglas submitted a false affidavit purporting to be from a postal letter carrier in support of a claim that a parcel was not delivered. The affiant, allegedly a postal letter carrier with the initials M.M., stated that she had not delivered any parcels to the recipient for several months. The affiant also provided a phone number in case there were questions. That phone number was Douglas’s phone number. In fact, the parcel in question was delivered and the recipient signed a delivery receipt.
As a final part of this scheme, Douglas also mailed to the Postal Service’s accounting department forged internal postal forms purporting to be from Postal Service employees verifying the false claims. In total, the Postal Service paid $164,859 based on these false claims.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Special Agent in Charge Bowman commended the investigative work of Special Agent Jason Manning of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. They also praised the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Corinne Kleinman and Nicole Wattelet; Criminal Investigator Matthew Kutz; Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Lucas, who worked on forfeiture issues, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Johnson, who is prosecuting the case.