Baltimore, Maryland – In a shocking turn of events, Breanna Lee Cartledge, a 28-year-old Postal Service clerk from Clinton, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. The charges stem from Cartledge’s involvement in a scheme to defraud financial institutions by creating counterfeit checks using intercepted information obtained during her employment with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
The guilty plea was announced by Erek L. Barron, the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Peter Brown of the U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG).
According to Cartledge’s admission of guilt, she exploited her position as a USPS employee to unlawfully access USPS money orders and individuals’ mail, subsequently acquiring the personal information of unsuspecting victims. Cartledge and her co-conspirators then utilized this information without the victims’ consent.
One particularly troubling instance outlined in the plea agreement involved a request from a co-conspirator for images of checks. Cartledge obliged by sending at least nine separate images of money orders and checks, all containing personal identifying information. These images were intended to be used to create fraudulent checks and steal from the victims’ accounts.
In another incident, on May 28, 2020, Cartledge successfully negotiated a counterfeit check for $4,900 from a victim’s account. However, the bank ultimately detected the fraud and reversed the transaction. Cartledge acknowledged her abuse of authority as a USPS clerk in facilitating or concealing the offense.
As a result of her guilty plea, Cartledge now faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Lydia K. Griggsby has scheduled her sentencing for October 19, 2023, at 2:00 p.m.
U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron praised the USPS-OIG’s efforts in their case investigation. He also expressed gratitude towards Assistant United States Attorneys G. Michael Morgan and Darren Gardner, who prosecuted the matter.
This case is a stark reminder of the potential for abuse and criminal activity within seemingly trustworthy institutions. The U.S. Postal Service, responsible for the safe and efficient delivery of mail, has been tarnished by the actions of one of its own employees.
The USPS-OIG’s investigation into Cartledge’s illicit activities underscores the importance of rigorous oversight and the need for enhanced security measures to protect individuals’ personal information. As society continues to rely on digital transactions and online communications, identity theft and financial fraud risks persist.
The guilty plea of Breanna Lee Cartledge will hopefully serve as a deterrent to others contemplating similar acts of deception. The judicial system must send a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated, and those who engage in fraudulent activities will be held accountable.
As the case proceeds to a sentence in October, the victims of Cartledge’s crimes eagerly await justice, hoping to regain their sense of security and trust in the institutions designed to safeguard their interests.
In conjunction with the USPS-OIG, the U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to upholding the integrity of the financial system and ensuring that those who exploit their positions for personal gain face the full force of the law.