A former U.S. Postal Service employee in Philadelphia admitted Monday to helping a coconspirator pilfer almost $18,000 in gasoline using stolen government fuel cards.
Shaquana D. Ackridge, 24, told a federal judge she agreed to steal the cards and personal identification numbers assigned to mail carriers across the city in exchange for monthly kickbacks of $160.
Investigators discovered the plot after her codefendant — Dejuan K. Michaels, 26, who is not a government employee — tried to recruit another mail carrier at a North Philadelphia gas station in November. He flashed one of the stolen cards, saying he “was federal” and was just trying to make some money, according to court documents filed in his case.
Suspicious, that mail carrier took down Michaels’ phone number and then reported him to federal agents. They traced the number and discovered he had used Postal Service cards at least 234 times between October 2018 and April to purchase gas for private vehicles.
When investigators traced Michaels’ theft back to Ackridge, she immediately confessed and shared several text message exchanges she had with him during their scheme, according to court filings.
Her guilty plea Monday to charges of conspiracy and theft of government funds came five months after she and Michaels were indicted by a grand jury. Her attorney, federal defender Angela Halim, declined to comment.
Michaels also pleaded guilty Monday in a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Rice. His lawyer, Matthew David Lee, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
He and Ackridge face up to a year in prison under federal guidelines at sentencing hearings in April, prosecutors said.