Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, together with United States Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett and Port Authority Police Department Chief Security Officer Joseph P. Dunne, today announced that five Queens residents, including baggage handlers whose jobs included loading U.S. mail onto outbound international flights, allegedly stole and/or criminally possessed thousands of dollars worth of money orders bound for Japan, Korea and Greece and depositing them into their own bank accounts.
District Attorney Brown said, “When an individual mails an item through the U.S. Postal Service it is expected that the item will arrive intact at its intended destination. It is alarming that these defendants were allegedly using U.S. mailbags as their own private ATM machines to steal money orders intended for relatives and friends overseas – including, in one instance, funds intended to help pay for a relative’s funeral.”
Inspector in Charge Bartlett said, “Many workers in America work hard every day to enable them to send much needed funds to help their family members in other countries. These airlines workers not only betrayed the trust of their employer and the Postal Service, they also betrayed these hard working people and their families.”
Chief Security Officer Dunne said, “All of our airport employees, including those we employ and those hired by other stakeholders, are given a tremendous responsibility to serve at our airport facilities in both states. When they fail to meet their obligations and their failure results in criminal conduct, we will make sure they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
District Attorney Brown identified the apprehended defendants as Kenroy C. Mitchell, 22, of 199th Street in St. Albans and Amanda Mackie, 20, of Caney Road in Rosedale. Three others, including a former baggage handler, are still being sought.
Defendant Mitchell was arraigned today before Queens Criminal Court Judge Gia Morris on third-and fourth-degree grand larceny and third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property charges. Mitchell is also charged with acting in concert with one of the unapprehended defendants. He is accused of stealing more than $25,000. He was released on his own recognizance and his next date is November 18, 2014. If convicted, Mitchell faces up to seven years in prison. Defendant Mackie was arraigned last night before Queens Criminal Court Judge David Hawkins. She is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. She is also charged with participating in a scheme to steal and criminally possess $2,800 in U.S. Postal money orders. Mackie was released on her own recognizance and is due back in court on November 18, 2014. If convicted, Mackie faces up to four years in prison.
District Attorney Brown said that, in response to numerous reports of thefts of money orders from the U.S. mail, specifically mail allegedly being handled by Ground Services International and Swissport USA baggage handlers at JFK International Airport, a joint investigation was commenced by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Port Authority Police Department, which included an investigation of Ground Services International and Swissport USA employees allegedly pilfering mail which they were supposed to transport from the JFK postal facility to outbound
overseas aircraft at Terminal #7.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal complaints, the defendants are variously accused of taking money and/or receiving money orders ranging in amounts from $75 to $1,000 that were being sent through overseas mail to recipients in Japan, Korea and Greece and depositing the money orders into their own bank accounts, sometimes writing their own names over the names of the intended recipients, between November 2013 and March 2014.
District Attorney Brown said that, according to the criminal complaints, the combined thefts allegedly totaled more than $27,000. Among the crimes charged are the following:
- Kenroy C. Mitchell, who had been employed by Ground Services International as a baggage handler, is accused of depositing 33 stolen money orders into his bank account between November 2013 and January 2014. The money orders had been purchased by various individuals who had sent them via U.S. mail to family and friends in Japan, Korea and Greece.
- Amanda Mackie is accused of acting in concert with an unapprehended defendant, who had been employed by Ground Services International as a baggage handler. Mackie allegedly deposited a stolen international money order into her own bank account on January 13, 2014 using an ATM machine in Rosedale, Queens. This money order was intended for Japan.
The case was investigated by United States Postal Inspector Eduardo Gelpi, under the supervision of USPIS Supervisory Agent A.P. Malaiko and by Port Authority Police Department Detective Dewan Maharaj under the supervision of Detective Sergeant Thomas Bomengo, Detective Lieutenant Jose Alba and Captain Hugh Johnson, under the overall supervision of Chief Matthew Wilson.