A mail carrier and her husband pleaded guilty Friday to stealing nearly $9 million in checks from mailboxes along her Charlotte route, U.S. Attorney Dena King said.
Kiara Padgett, a 29-year-old Waxhaw resident, and her spouse, 28-year-old Dominique Dunlap of Charlotte, pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to a news release by King’s office.
Dunlap also pleaded guilty to four counts of possession of stolen mail, prosecutors said.
Padgett stole at least 400 checks from the mailboxes of homes and businesses along her west Charlotte route from August 2021 until November 2022, according to plea documents and other court filings.
She used her husband as the intermediary to sell the checks to other people, including Charlotte resident Terrell Alexander Hager Jr., court records show.
Dunlap sent Hager photographs of the stolen checks, and pictures of stacks of stolen mail, prosecutors said.
Hager pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, according to court documents. Prosecutors say he posted $7.3 million of the stolen checks for sale online.
Padgett, Dunlap and Hager did not return messages from The Charlotte Observer.
The trio face up to 30 years in prison and $1 million fines, court records show. Dunlap also faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the possession of stolen mail counts.
Their sentencing dates haven’t been scheduled, prosecutors said.
In Friday’s news release, King thanked postal investigators and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for investigating the thefts.