Alabama postal worker, friend took COVID relief checks from mail, deposited into own accounts, feds allege

Published 5:27 pm Thursday, October 27, 2022

A federal grand jury this week indicted Richard Anthony Pippens aka Tony, 32, and Feathura Powell, 38, both of Birmingham, with conspiracy, theft of government property, receiving stolen Treasury checks, and aggravated identity theft. U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector-in-Charge Scott D. Fix, Houston Division made the announcement.

According to the 14-count indictment, between May 2021 and July 2021, Pippens and Powell conspired to steal U.S. Treasury checks from the U.S mail, deposit those checks into bank accounts controlled and accessed by Powell, and then share the proceeds. Pippens used his position as a U.S. Postal Service employee to steal the U.S. Treasury checks from the mail while working at the Tarrant Post Office. The checks were COVID-19 Relief Economic Impact Payment (EIP) checks and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks issued by the United States to intended recipients living in the Northern District of Alabama. Pippens and Powell stole over $17,000 as a result of their scheme.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years in prison. The maximum penalty for concealing stolen or forged U. S Treasury checks is 10 years in prison. The maximum penalty for theft of government property is 10 years in prison. The penalty for aggravated identity theft is two years in prison to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed.