From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois:
This morning, in federal court in East St. Louis, Mia Lynn Cousett, 33, of Alton, Illinois, was sentenced to three years of probation for her conviction on twelve felony counts of theft of government funds. The funds stolen were social security checks payable to Cousett’s mother, who died in April 2017.
When she pled guilty to these offenses on Feb. 7, 2020, Cousett admitted that for twelve months after her mother passed away, she continued to cash her mother’s social security checks and then used those funds for her own expenses. Cousett forged her dead mother’s signature on the backs of each of those checks, deposited the checks into her mother’s bank account, and then accessed those funds using her mother’s debit card. The total of the social security checks stolen by Cousett was $15,601. Cousett also admitted that she used her dead mother’s driver’s license number to conceal and perpetuate her thefts.
In addition to the three years of probation, the court also ordered Cousett to pay full restitution of $12,849.06. This figure represents the $15,601 that was stolen, less $2,751.94 that was recovered prior to the sentencing hearing. Cousett was also ordered to pay $1,200 in special assessments.
At the time of the offenses, Cousett was employed as a letter carrier for the post office in Alton, Illinois. As part of her plea agreement, Cousett voluntarily resigned from her position at the post office.
The investigation was conducted by agents from the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, Chicago Field Division, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Chicago
Division, St. Louis Field Office, and the Alton Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Scott A. Verseman and Luke J. Weissler.