(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that PENNY JOHNSON, age 52, a former resident of Avondale, Louisiana, who now lives in Mississippi, pleaded guilty on August 19, 2020 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud before United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana Sarah S. Vance.
According to the charging document, JOHNSON participated in a “work at home” re-shipping scam wherein internet fraudsters would direct items purchased from sellers such as eBay to JOHNSON’s residence. As part of the scheme, JOHNSON would then inspect the contents and re-ship the mail and other packages to the fraudsters. Prior to the Indictment, JOHNSON had been advised by United States Postal inspectors that she was facilitating a fraud upon eBay and other online customers, but she persisted. JOHNSON went on to make false statements to the inspectors when she was later questioned after the first warning. The stolen/diverted mail included items such as a paintball gun, a drone, two Dyson vacuum cleaners, women’s shoes, two Apple Air Mac books, and a smart phone.
JOHNSON faces a sentence of up to five (5) years in prison on the conspiracy count and up to $250,000 in fines, and up to three (3) years of supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for December 9, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the United States Postal Inspection Service for their investigation of the matter. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Rivera is in charge of the prosecution.