Buffalo Woman Pleads Guilty To Assault For Spitting On Postal Worker And Claiming To Have The Coronavirus

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Melissa C. Daniels-Johnson, 39, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer to assaulting a federal officer. The charges carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison, and a $100,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Bonanno, who is handling the case, stated that on March 19, 2020, at approximately 6:50 p.m., the defendant drove her vehicle into the parking lot of the Cheektowaga Branch Post Office by traveling the wrong way through an exit driveway. A USPS Letter Carrier (Letter Carrier) collecting mail from the mailboxes in the parking lot advised Daniels-Johnson that she had entered the parking lot through the exit driveway. In response, the defendant shouted profanities at the Letter Carrier and threatened to cough on him to give him the Coronavirus. The manager of the Cheektowaga Branch Post Office came out to the parking lot and attempted to calm Daniels-Johnson down. The defendant subsequently drove her vehicle out of the parking lot, passing by the Letter Carrier, who had resumed collecting mail from the mailboxes. As she passed the Letter Carrier, Daniels-Johnson stopped her vehicle and told the Letter Carrier her husband was going to beat him up, and then spit on the Letter Carrier, hitting the Letter Carrier in the leg.

The Department of Justice remains vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Attorneys appointed Coronavirus Fraud Coordinators to work with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners to protect the public from scammers who are attempting to prey upon fears. The Department is also committed to preventing hoarding and price gouging for critical supplies during this crisis. To address this, DOJ created the COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force. If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at disaster@leo.gov.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the Boston Division, and the Cheektowaga Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael Sliwinski.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 30, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. before Judge Roemer.