Six current former US Postal employees charged with collecting fraudulent unemployment benefits and business loans

CHICAGO (CBS) — Six current and former US Postal Service employees have been accused of fraudulently obtaining loans for businesses that didn’t really exist.

The six defendants were charged as part of an investigation by the Illinois Attorney General’s Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force. They all applied for a variety of government loans and aid during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the attorney general’s office.

In addition to trying to get Small Business Administration loans for businesses that weren’t real, four of the defendants are accused of applying for fraudulent unemployment benefits when they really worked for the Postal Service for the beginning.

The defendants are:

  • Davonte Kendall, 30, of Lansing;
  • Bria Taylor, 27, of Berwyn;
  • Imani Butler, 29, from Dixmoor;
  • Raven Daniel, 28, of Bellwood;
  • Louis K. Lay, Jr., 32, of Chicago;
  • Erica M. Beck, 34, of Chicago.

Between them, the six defendants are charged with more than 65 felony counts – including theft by deception, state benefit fraud, loan fraud, wire fraud and forgery.

Lay and Beck — who are married to each other and still work for the Postal Service — are also accused of conspiring to steal $25,000 in economic impact payments from residents of the South Shore neighborhood.

The Attorney General’s Office began investigating when the Postal Service Inspector General’s Office reported that some employees were collecting unemployment while working and being paid by the Postal Service. A joint federal and state investigation followed.


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