NEW ORLEANS – United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced yesterday that JACQUELINE M. BATISTE a/k/a Jacqueline Batiste Francois, age 48, of New Orleans, Louisiana, entered a plea of guilty to misappropriation of postal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1711.
According to documents filed in federal court, BATISTE was employed by the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) as a City Letter Carrier/Supervisor working in the New Orleans Bywater Station (“Bywater”) Post Office. One of BATISTE’s responsibilities was to prepare and dispatch the Bywater Station’s daily remittances for deposit with the New Orleans Process and Delivery Center Registry Section (“PDCRS”).
The case against BATISTE began when the PDCRS contacted the USPS Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) because the Bywater Post Office failed to submit remittances. The USPS OIG’s investigation revealed that Bywater employees gave deposit money to BATISTE for remittance to the Registry Section.
On March 29, 2018, Batiste agreed to meet with special agents of the USPS OIG. BATISTE was advised of her Miranda rights and was told that the agents wanted to discuss financial issues in the Bywater Post Office. BATISTE told the agents that she had a gambling issue and liked to play the slot machines at Boomtown Casino. BATISTE said, on the date in question, she notified a fellow postal employee that she was going to place the deposit money in the safe. Special agents asked BATISTE if that happened and BATISTE replied, “No, I had the urge.” BATISTE admitted to taking the deposit money for March 10, 2018 and going to Boomtown. Special agents asked BATISTE if it was safe to say the missing $1,214.00 was now at Boomtown and she replied “Yes sir.” According to BATISTE, she had already lost her own money at Boomtown on Saturday before losing the rest of the money she had taken from the USPS.
BATISTE faces a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment followed by up to one year of supervised release, a $100,000.00 fine, and a mandatory $25.00 special assessment. Sentencing is scheduled for June 5, 2019.
U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser praised the work of the Office of Inspector General for the United States Postal Service. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Supervisor of the Financial Crimes Unit.