BENTON, Ill. – Four men are facing multiple federal charges for mail theft, bank fraud, identity theft and money laundering stemming from an apparent scheme involving postal collection boxes in Carbondale.
Isaiah C. Jordan, 29, of Urbana, Illinois, is facing one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of theft of a postal key, eight counts of mail theft, thirteen counts of bank fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Demarius L. Flakes, 29, of Blue Island, Illinois, is facing one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of mail theft, six counts of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Arraigned in federal court on Monday, Brian R. Nevils, 24, of South Holland, Illinois, is facing one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of mail theft, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Quentin S. Abrams, 24, of Charleston, Illinois, is facing one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, one count of mail theft, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
“Communities rely on the U.S. Postal Service to communicate with loved ones, pay bills and conduct official business,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “To protect the integrity of USPS, criminals who target mail collection boxes to steal checks and commit fraud will face serious consequences.”
“This indictment is a statement that mail theft will not be tolerated,” said Inspector in Charge Ruth Mendonça who leads the Chicago Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which includes the St. Louis Field Office. “The Postal Inspection Service will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to collectively pursue criminals who victimize postal customers.”
"This announcement of indictments in our community's mail fraud investigation is a testament to the tireless efforts of our police officers and the close collaboration with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office,” said Carbondale Police Chief Stan Reno. “The alleged actions that have surfaced through this investigation are deeply concerning, as they undermine the trust and safety of our community. I want to assure the public that we will continue to work diligently to protect and serve our community, holding those responsible for these crimes accountable. Together, we will not tolerate criminal activity that threatens the well-being of our citizens."
According to the indictment, the alleged fraud scheme operated from approximately March 26 through at least July 1, 2020. The defendants are accused of stealing and altering more than 100 checks mailed by more than 50 postal customers. The total estimated loss exceeds $400,000.
Jordan, Flakes, Nevils and Abrams are all charged for their alleged involvement in the scheme. According to court documents, the defendants used a stolen master key to gain access to mail collection boxes throughout Carbondale. The conspiracy involved altering the payees and amounts of the stolen checks, depositing the checks into bank accounts of co-conspirators and then transferring the funds into their own accounts or of their associates.
The scheme involved the Bank of Carbondale, First Mid Bank & Trust, Firth Southern Bank, Legence Bank, Regions Bank and Wells Fargo Bank—all of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
Jordan, Nevils and Abrams were taken into federal custody, but Flakes is a fugitive wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service. Anyone with information about his whereabouts are encouraged to contact the Marshals in southern Illinois.
The Carbondale Police Department and the U.S. Postal Service are jointly investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Verseman is prosecuting the case.