LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Two United States Postal Service employees pleaded guilty Monday to federal criminal charges of defrauding the California Employment Development Department, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Christian Jeremyah James, 31, of South Los Angeles, who worked in the Culver City Main Post Office, and Armand Caleb Legardy, 32, of Inglewood, who worked in the La Tijera Post Office on Crenshaw Boulevard in South Los Angeles, pleaded guilty in separate hearings to one count of use of unauthorized access devices each.
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According to the plea agreements, from August 2020 to February 2021, James and Legardy used EDD debit cards issued to other people for unemployment insurance benefits. The cards were obtained by other unidentified individuals using stolen identities and false information.
Both men admitted to using the cards to purchase or cash money orders from the USPS and to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash from bank ATMs. They also admitted to depositing multiple fraudulently purchased money orders directly into their bank accounts.
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Between Sept. 3 and Sept. 19, 2020, James deposited more than $27,000 worth of USPS money orders into his bank account, according to his plea agreement. Legardy deposited more than $10,000 in USPS money orders illegally purchased with EDD cards in other people’s names, according to his plea agreement.
James admitted in his plea agreement to knowingly using at least eight EDD debit cards in other people’s names and causing a loss of approximately $142,652 while Legardy admitted in his agreement to illegally using nine EDD cards and causing a loss of about $160,879.
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Legardy is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 30 and James is set to be sentenced Oct. 7. Both men face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.