From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida:
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday today sentenced Darius Vashon Tolbert (38, Tampa) to four years and four months in federal prison for receiving stolen government property and for possessing stolen mail. As part of his sentence, the Court also entered a money judgment in the amount of $569,876.40 and ordered him to pay $151,971.80 in restitution to the Social Security Administration.
A federal jury found Tolbert guilty on August 11, 2016.
According to evidence presented at trial, Tolbert purchased approximately $569,000 of stolen Social Security benefit checks between April and July 2012. The checks, belonging to more than 400 disabled or retired beneficiaries, were all destined for addresses in Pinellas County and had been stolen from the St. Petersburg Processing and Distribution Center by a postal mail handler. They were part of a larger theft of more than $3 million in checks by the same mail handler. The checks that Tolbert purchased were later cashed at a money services business in Live Oak.
On January 11, 2017, a federal jury found the mail handler, Stacy Darnell Mitchell, guilty. He was sentenced on April 5, 2017, to nine years and one month in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration - Office of the Inspector General, the United States Postal Service - Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of the Treasury - Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, as well as various local enforcement agencies. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.