By Kathy Jefcoats
ATLANTA — A former Stockbridge postal worker was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison after being convicted for his role in a multi-million dollar scheme involving U.S. Treasury checks, said officials.
Gerald Eason, 47, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years and three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Eason was also fined $15,000.
One of his recruits, Jabril O. McKee, 25, of Riverdale, was sentenced Jan. 30 to two years, four months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. McKee was also fined $3,000.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said this case was brought as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Stolen Treasury Check Task Force. The task force is an informal group of 14 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working together to address the problem of stolen U.S. Treasury checks in the Northern District of Georgia.
Yates said Gerald Eason worked as a supervisor at the Atlanta Processing and Distribution Center, a centralized mail distribution center, on Crown Road. That facility processes mail for delivery to dozens of zip codes in Georgia.
Deborah Fambro-Echols worked as a mail handler at the facility. While on the job, Eason and Fambro-Echols stole thousands of U.S. Treasury checks and provided them to a network of brokers and check cashers who would then negotiate the checks and split the criminal proceeds with them, said Yates.
"These individuals forged endorsements and used fake identification to pose as the intended recipients of the checks when cashing them," she said. "Federal authorities believe that Eason and Fambro-Echols are responsible for a significant portion of the U.S. Treasury checks reported stolen in Georgia over the last four years."
In April 2011, law enforcement authorities searched Fambro-Echols’ residence in Hapeville. They found 661 Treasury checks totaling more than $590,000.
"Almost all of the checks discovered during the search were dated from April 8 to April 19, 2011, and thus stolen over less than a two-week period," said Yates.
On March 7 and 11, 2012, Eason stole more than 1,300 Treasury checks worth more than $2.8 million, she said. Federal agents video recorded him stealing the checks at the mail facility and then observed him drive the checks to a residence, where he thought they would be distributed to co-conspirators who would cash them. He was arrested while trying to collect his portion of the proceeds from the second delivery, said Yates.
"Eason and Fambro-Echols stole millions in U.S. Treasury checks during their employment with the U.S. Postal Service," she said.
Wendy Frasier and Daralyn M. Weaver acted as brokers for Fambro-Echols, said Yates.
"They recruited others to cash the stolen checks at banks and business establishments," she said. "Jabril O. McKee and Ohmar D. Braden worked as check cashers in the scheme, negotiating stolen checks with the help of fake identification documents and sharing the proceeds with their co-conspirators."
In March 2011, McKee and Braden were arrested at a BestBank in Decatur trying to negotiate a stolen Social Security check while impersonating the intended recipient of the check, said Yates.
All the co-conspirators have been sentenced to federal prison time except for Frasier, 35, of Atlanta. Yates said Frasier will be sentenced March 14.