Investigators from the Office of Inspector General were alerted by the Detroit District Finance Office when routine daily deposits from the Saline PO started showing up late, or going missing altogether. The pattern suggested a kiting scheme, in which an employee “borrows” cash from the deposit, planning to “repay” it at a later date. The OIG installed hidden cameras in the office, which recorded Garrett consulting the deposit book, and looking through empty deposit bags. Neither activity was a part of her job duties.
Subsequent videos showed Garret, on several occasions, accessing the secure area where the deposit was stored, removing papers and money from deposit bags and hiding them in her clothing. At times she was seen apparently counting cash, before taking it, and at others she appeared to be removing papers from her clothing and placing them in the deposit bag.
On December 18, 2014, OIG agents reviewed the office’s deposit records and found that a deposit from October 24, previously recorded as missing, was received by the bank on December 4. The deposit that should have been received on that date showed up two weeks later. The deposit from December 13 never showed up at all. The missing and delayed deposits matched up with Garrett’s actions as recorded by the cameras.
On December 23 OIG agents interviewed Garrett. After signing an affadavit waiving her Miranda rights, Garrett admitted that she had taken the missing deposits. She said that she needed the money because of her own financial hardships, and to help her mother, who had lost her job. She said the first time she had taken money was in April 2014, when she had wanted to “put on a nice birthday” for her son, but was behind in her car payments, and couldn’t afford it. She said she wasn’t sure how much money she had taken, but that she had kept all of the checks, deposit slips and other paperwork so that she could eventually pay the money back. When agents told her that the estimate of missing cash was $60-70,000, and asked her if that was accurate, she said “Yes.” Garrett then resigned her position, effective immediately.
Agents then searched Garrett’s post office locker and her car, and retrieved several missing deposits, including over $12 thousand in checks. No cash was found with the deposits. After adding up the missing deposits and subtracting the recovered checks, the OIG determined that $61,366 in cash was missing.
Garrett was charged last week with felony embezzlement of postal funds. There’s no word yet on when the case will go to trial..