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Covington man convicted in federal mail theft scam

COVINGTON -- One of the six defendants charged in the theft of U.S. Treasury checks from an Atlanta mail distribution facility is a 37-year-old Covington man, according to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.

Ohmar D. Braden of Covington was sentenced on Dec. 18, to two years, four months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and fined $2,000. Three other defendants -- Gerald Eason, 47, of Stockbridge; Deborh Fambro-Echols, 50, of Hapeville and Daralyn M. Weaver, 31, of Atlanta were sentenced this week. Jabril O. McKee, 25, of Riverdale was sentenced in January and Wendy Frasier, 35, of Atlanta will be sentenced later this month.

All defendants were charged with conspiracy, theft of government money and possession of stolen Treasury checks.

The scheme involved the theft of more than $3.5 million and more than 1,800 victims who had their tax refund, Social Security or veterans benfits checks stolen.

According to Yates, Eason worked as a supervisor at the Atlanta Processing and Distribution Center, a centralized mail distribution center, on Crown Road in Atlanta. That facility processes mail for delivery to dozens of zip codes in Georgia. Deborah Fambro-Echols worked as a mail handler at the facility.

"While on the job, Eason and Fambro-Echols stole thousands of U.S. Treasury checks and provided them to a network of brokers and check cashers who would then negotiate the checks and split the criminal proceeds with them. These individuals forged endorsements and used fake identification to pose as the intended recipients of the checks when cashing them. Federal authorities believe that Eason and Fambro-Echols are responsible for a significant portion of the U.S. Treasury checks reported stolen in Georgia over the last four years," Yates stated in a printed press release.

Yates said Frasier and Weaver acted as brokers and recruited others to cash the stolen checks at banks and business establishments.

Braden and McKee worked as check cashers in the scheme, negotiating stolen checks with the help of fake identification documents and sharing the proceeds with their co-conspirators. In March 2011, Braden and McKee were arrested as a BestBank in Decatur while attempting to negotiate a stolen Social Security check by impersonating the intended recipient of the check.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General; Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General; U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Inspector General; Georgia Department of Revenue, Office of Special Investigations; and DeKalb Police Department, with valuable assistance provided by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office.