27-year-old female Postal Service worker charged with multiple felony counts after allegedly stealing more than $70,000 in checks

Bradenton resident being held under $150,000 in bond

A 27-year-old female U.S. Postal Service (USPS) worker is facing three felony counts, including Scheme to Defraud with more than $50,000 involved, the Sarasota Police Department has reported.

Anabel Ossombi, of 13649 Luxe Ave., Apt. 209 in Bradenton, was arrested just after 6 p.m. on April 19 at the Beneva Road Post Office in Sarasota, a Police Department news release says. She also has been charged with criminal use of personal identification — with more than 30 victims — and money laundering, her Probable Cause Affidavit points out.

The total amount of money in checks Ossombi is alleged to have deposited in her own bank account is $70,109.28, the affidavit says.

Ossombi began her employment with the Postal Service in May 2022, working as a mail sorter, the Police Department news release adds.

Ossombi is being held in the Sarasota County Jail under total bond of $150,000, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division records show. Her arraignment is scheduled for June 2.

“Sarasota Police detectives and the USPS Office of Inspector General began a check fraud investigation in January,” the Police Department news release says. That followed reports from two victims, who told law enforcement officers that they had not received checks from customers for products those customers had purchased, the release adds.

In June 2022, Synuity Acquisition, which is based in Chandler, Ariz., and Congruity, in Winston-Salem, N.C., had mailed checks to the two victims for products the firms had purchased, the affidavit notes. The Synuity check was for $448.80, while the amount from Congruity was $1,525.39, the affidavit says.

After looking into its situation, Synuity reported to the victim that its check had been deposited “into an unknown bank account,” the affidavit adds.

The victim in the Congruity case called 911 to report possible fraud, the affidavit continues.

On Feb. 23, the affidavit says, a member of the Sarasota Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division obtained and submitted a certified subpoena for Bank of America, requesting information about the accounts into which the victims’ checks had been deposited. It turned out that the sole holder of that account was Ossombi, the affidavit points out; she was described in the affidavit as a “Ukrainian female.”

“Through further investigation,” the affidavit says, detectives “located 83 additional checks deposited via mobile deposit into Ossombi’s Bank of America Account …” The amounts varied, the affidavit shows, with a range from $222.59 to $1,969.31.

Approximately 60 victim companies were involved, the affidavit notes.

Further, the affidavit includes details about bills that Ossombi had paid since Sept. 6, 2022:

  • $1,624.96 and $1,702.10 to her apartment complex in Bradenton.
  • $101.89 and $112.65 to AT&T.

During interviews with 13 “managers/accountants/bookkeepers” for 13 of the companies that were victims of the alleged fraud, the affidavit says, detectives learned that all 13 companies had mailed the checks through the Postal Service. Those checks either were picked up by a postal carrier or dropped off at one of three locations in Sarasota, the affidavit points out. Those locations were 935 N. Beneva Road, Suite 801; 1661 Ringling Blvd.; and 2875 Ashton Road. Those are addresses for post offices.

When a detective checked with the Office of the Inspector General for the Postal Service, the affidavit continues, the detective learned that Ossombi had worked at all three of the above locations.

Then, on April 12, a special agent with the Inspector General’s office provided detectives with a document that Ossombi had signed, which indicated that she “acknowledged and understood Postal Service form 8139, Theft of Mail Matter by Office or Employee,” the affidavit says.

“Detectives believe there may be more victims in this case,” the release adds. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jessica Sullivan at 941-263-6076, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS, or going online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.

The Sarasota Police Department also is providing the following tips from the Postal Inspection Service to help members of the public protect themselves and their mail:

  • Promptly pick up mail.
  • Inquire about overdue mail.
  • Do not send cash.
  • Arrange for prompt pickup.
  • Use hold for pickup.
  • Request signature confirmation.
  • File a change of address with the Postal Service and financial institutions when moving.