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South LA mail carrier sentenced for bank fraud


Admitted stealing EDD debit cards

An ex-U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from South Los Angeles who admitted to stealing debit cards containing unemployment insurance benefits while on duty and giving them to an accomplice in exchange for cash and gifts was sentenced today to 15 months behind bars.

Toya Hunter, 45, was also ordered to pay $206,212 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

She pleaded guilty in December to one federal count of bank fraud.

From January 2019 to May 2020, Hunter stole mail–including letters sent by the California Employment Development Department–and then gave the stolen EDD debit cards as well as other credit cards to her co-defendant, Hunter’s plea agreement states.

Co-defendant Michalea Barksdale, also known as Miichii Bee, 34, of Corona, also pleaded guilty and faces sentencing in July.

Barksdale used the last four digits of victims’ Social Security numbers to activate the debit cards and create personal identification numbers to access funds, which were held at Bank of America, according to papers filed in Los Angeles federal court.

Barksdale then used the stolen EDD card to withdraw cash from a Bank of America ATM located in Corona, prosecutors said.

Hunter helped Barksdale make withdrawals from 68 victims’ accounts and stole about $145,191 from Bank of America, court papers show.

In July 2021, Hunter stole from the mail and fraudulently activated a stolen debit card containing COVID-19 pandemic unemployment relief money belonging to another victim. Hunter used the card to make fraudulent purchases and cash withdrawals, stealing about $1,400 from Fiserv Bank, her plea agreement states.