BOSTON – A Dorchester woman pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Boston to stealing 23 sports trading cards valued at $68,668 from the U.S. Mail while working as a clerk at the U.S. Post Office in Jamaica Plain.
Venecia McLaren, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of mail by a postal service employee. U.S. District Court Senior Judge Mark L. Wolf scheduled sentencing for April 25, 2016.
On Jan. 21, 2015, McLaren stole a Priority Express Mail package containing sports trading cards from the Post Office in Roxbury. McLaren then gave her sister, Ophelia McLaren, from Queens, N.Y., a portion of the stolen cards to sell with the understanding that the two would share the proceeds. McLaren and her sister then posted some of the stolen cards for sale online. In late March and early April 2015, McLaren sold nine of the cards to a good faith purchaser. Around that same time, federal agents established undercover web-based accounts to communicate with Venecia McLaren and her sister. On April 9, 2015, after communicating with agents, McLaren sold three of the cards to an undercover agent in Boston and offered to sell a fourth. She was placed under arrest. On that same date, McLaren’s sister and brother, Lennica McLaren, were arrested after they attempted to sell four of the stolen trading cards to an undercover agent in New York.
Ophelia and Lennica McLaren have since pleaded guilty to larceny charges in Queens County Criminal Court, New York.
The charge of mail theft by a postal employee provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 and restitution. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Eileen Neff, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office; and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William F. Bloomer of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.