Stole debit cards while on duty
A Riverside County woman who used state Employment Development Department (EDD) debit cards stolen from the mail to withdraw funds from bank cash machines was scheduled to be sentenced this week.
Michalea Barksdale, also known as Miichii Bee, 34, of Corona, pleaded guilty in March to one count of bank fraud and one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
She has agreed to forfeit her ill-gotten gains from the scheme, including 103 EDD debit cards, 78 Economic Impact Payments cards and four iPhones. Barksdale faces up to 40 years in federal prison at her sentencing hearing in Los Angeles federal court.
Barksdale worked the scheme with an ex-U.S. Postal Service mail carrier from South Los Angeles who admitted to stealing debit cards from the mail while on duty and giving them to her co-defendant in exchange for cash and gifts.
Toya Hunter, 45, was sentenced in April to 15 months behind bars and was ordered to pay $206,212 in restitution, federal prosecutors said.
Hunter 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 state EDD–and gave the stolen EDD debit cards as well as other credit cards to her co-defendant.
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, court papers show.
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, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
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, a payment and mobile banking system, her plea agreement states.