North Carolina: U.S. Postal Carrier And Co-Conspirator Are Charged In Extensive Mail Theft Scheme

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two criminal indictments were unsealed in federal court today following the arrest of a U.S. Postal Carrier and a co-conspirator for their involvement in an extensive mail theft scheme, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which oversees Charlotte, Jeff Krafels, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General (USPS-OIG) for the Mid-Atlantic Area Field Office (MAAFO), which oversees Charlotte, and Chief Johnny Jennings of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.

Kiara Padgett, 28, of Waxhaw, N.C., is charged with one count of bank fraud conspiracy and 10 counts of mail theft by a postal employee. A separate indictment charges Terrell Alexander Hager Jr., 23, of Charlotte, with one count of bank fraud conspiracy and seven counts of possession of stolen mail.

According to allegations contained in Padgett’s indictment, Padgett was employed by the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier with a postal route in West Charlotte. From August 2021 to November 2022, Padgett allegedly used her position as a postal carrier to steal incoming and outgoing checks of businesses and individuals, which she then sold to other individuals located in Charlotte and Maryland. The indictment alleges that the total face value of the checks Padgett stole was more than $8.3 million. The indictment further alleges that between August 2021 and June 2022, Padgett received payments for her role in the scheme totaling at least $13,698.

The indictment filed against Hager alleges that, between August 2021 and November 2022, Hager and his co-conspirators obtained stolen checks from Padgett. The co-conspirators allegedly deposited the stolen checks into bank accounts Hager and others controlled, and then made cash withdrawals before the financial institutions detected the fraud. Over the course of the scheme, Hager and his co-conspirators allegedly deposited more than $27,000 in stolen checks and money orders. Hager also allegedly posted online for sale over 400 stolen checks totaling over $7.3 million. The checks posted by Hager were allegedly stolen from Padgett’s postal route in West Charlotte. According to today’s court proceedings, Hager was on probation with the state of North Carolina when he committed the fraud.

Padgett was released on bond following her court hearing. If convicted, Padgett faces a maximum prison term of 30 years and a $1 million fine for the bank fraud conspiracy charge, and five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the 10 counts of theft of mail by a postal employee.

Hager remains in federal custody. If convicted, he is facing a maximum prison term of 30 years and a $1 million fine for the charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the seven charges of possession of stolen mail.

The details contained in this indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.