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November 25, 2020 - 1:09pm

Press release:

Due to the rise of coronavirus cases, there is an increasing demand for tests. Many of our health centers including Albion, Brockport and Hornell provide testing for people with and without symptoms.

At the Corfu, Batavia and Alexander locations we are testing people with symptoms who meet the criteria. To keep everyone safe, all testing is by appointment only. 

COVID-19 swab tests are available at our health centers outdoors to ensure safety for patients and staff, however, if you have symptoms, please call in advance for arrival instructions. Test results are typically back in three  to five days but in some cases can take up to seven business days. 

“We want the community to know that Oak Orchard Health is here for them should they need a COVID-19 test. We have several testing locations and options including a free LetsGetChecked Self-Collection Kit,” said Dr. Mary Obear, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Clinical Officer, Oak Orchard Health (inset photo left).

Regarding payment, Oak Orchard starts by billing the insurance companies (co-pays may apply), and should it not be covered, we also offer a sliding fee scale discount based on family size and annual income. For questions or more information, please call (585) 637-3905, ext. 221.  

The LetsGetChecked COVID-19 Self Collection Kits were purchased by Oak Orchard but are being given out free to our patients 18 years of age or older. They can be used at home but are in limited supply.

The kits can be used when appropriate based on current testing guidelines. The test kit comes with a UPS next day air return shipping label to send your sample back to the lab. They aim to deliver your results within 24-72 hours of your sample being received in their laboratory.  

Take a moment look at the COVID-19 testing options available at Oak Orchard Health. For more information, visit our website at or call (585) 637-3905.

November 20, 2020 - 4:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, Milestones.

New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Aaron Lefton, commander of the state's COVID-19 response force, recognized members of the task force for excellence during the past seven months of duties during ceremonies held in the Capital Region and Central New York November 11-12, 2020.

Pfc. Cyle Felski, from Corfu, received a commander's challenge coin for exemplary service with the task force COVID-19 response efforts. Felski is normally assigned to the 222nd Military Police Company and has supported the Task Force COVID missions at the Monroe County test site.

Soldiers and Airmen continue to help staff 15 COVID-19 drive-in test sites located across the state from Long Island to Buffalo. As of November 20, personnel helped administer 802,000 tests at those locations.

New York National Guard personnel are also working to help state emergency and department of health personnel conduct logistics and warehouse operations at warehouse facilities located across New York.

Another enduring mission is the assembly of COVID-19 test kits in support of the New York State Department of Health. Guard Soldiers and Airmen have assembled 4,390,000 COVID-19 test kits for distribution across the state.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen picked up a new mission; assisting the Department of Health in screening travelers entering New York at state airports.

Personnel will replace Department of Health employees who have been collecting travel advisory forms. Troops assisted with the collection of 437,500 travel advisory health forms at seven state airports.

More than 1,475 service members of the New York National Guard remain on duty November 20 for the state's COVID-19 response. Initial operations began with 200 personnel in New Rochelle in early March.

November 20, 2020 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, news.

A tree is down in the area of 9029 Alleghany Road, Corfu, blocking both lanes of travel.

November 11, 2020 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in coroner, plane crash, corfu, news.


County Coroner Jeff McIntire received a commendation yesterday from the Genesee County Legislature for his tireless work -- more than 260 hours -- along with a team of responders -- to an airplane crash site in Corfu.

The Oct. 2 plane crash into a swampy, wooded area near Boyce Road claimed the life of Buffalo attorney Steve Barnes and the life of his niece Elizabeth Barnes, who was a government attorney.  

McIntyre received the commendation from Legislator Marianne Clattenburg.

Here's a copy of the commendation:

WHEREAS, On the morning of October 2, 2020 an airplane crash occurred in the Genesee County Town of Pembroke resulting in two tragic deaths and significant wreckage, and

WHEREAS, The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management Services, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Coroners and countless volunteers from several local Fire Departments worked together to provide a comprehensive response, and

WHEREAS, Genesee County Coroner Jeffery McIntire was called to the crash scene where he took command of a full experienced recovery team including New York State Association of County Coroners and Medical Examiners President Scott Schmidt, Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Pheiffer, Homeland Security Member & fragmented remains logistical supervisor Randy McIntire, and forensic photographer, logistician, deputy coroner and safety officer Cynthia Reynolds who provided crash victims’ families with loved ones’ remains and closure, and

WHEREAS, the value of comprehensive incident training and experience was made evident by the professionalism, compassion and commitment demonstrated by lead Coroner Jeffery McIntire, and

WHEREAS, seamless leadership was provided to multiple federal, state and local agencies who all played a role in the response, investigation, recovery and clean-up, and

WHEREAS, the elevated level of support and outstanding coordination of effort was acknowledged by the National Transportation Safety Board in their letter dated October 13, 2020, Now, therefore, Be it

RESOLVED that The Genesee County Legislature recognizes the contributions of Genesee County Coroner Jeffery McIntire, the Office of Emergency Management Services, Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Coroners, and the Volunteer Fire Departments who provided professional services following the traumatic plane crash.

October 29, 2020 - 5:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in corfu, Autumn in the Village, news, Halloween.

The Village of Corfu and Better Corfu Committee will be having an Autumn in the Village event from 2 to 6 p.m. on Halloween -- Saturday, Oct. 31st.

Tarot card readings, paintings, handmade items by several local artists. And of course, trick-or-treating, which will start at 5 p.m. There will be a spooky Haunted House at 44 Alleghany Road.

Walk around the village and see the scarecrows. There will be a Story Walk at the Corfu Free Library.

Visit the Village of Corfu website for more details.

Food by Center Street Smoke House BBQ, Dubby’s Wood Fired Pizza and Dilcher’s snacks and more.

All are welcome to this fun and safe autumn event!

October 22, 2020 - 4:41pm

Press release:

New York State hosts 3,500 miles of railroad track, with over 2,700 at-grade railroad crossings. Twenty-two people were killed in New York during 2019 due to train collisions, but nearly every collision occurring at railroad crossings could have been prevented if drivers followed safety procedures.

In an effort to save lives, New York Operation Lifesaver and TravelCenters of America have teamed up to educate professional drivers about a little-known part of railroad safety operation in the United States, the Emergency Notification System.

Every public railroad crossing in the United States has a blue and white an Emergency Notification System (ENS) sign, but very few drivers, be they members of the general public or trained professional drivers, are aware of the existence of the ENS sign.

The signs instructs you about what to do if your vehicle is stuck on the tracks: Get out of the vehicle; move away from the tracks; and call the number on the Emergency Notification System sign.

The sign also says: "Freight trains take a mile or more to stop. Don't put yourself and others in danger. Call the ENS number. Only they can stop the train!"

Trucks hauling large loads often use trailers with low clearance. Due to the low clearance, these types of trailers can and do get hung up at raised railroad crossings.

The ENS sign provides information about who to call when stuck on or near the tracks, and the crossing’s location. With the information on the ENS sign, railroads can avert a tragedy.

New York Operation Lifesaver’s multifaceted public safety campaign targets professional drivers with public service announcements at gas stations and at rest areas, as well as using Geofence advertising techniques to send ads and videos to this target audience.

The campaign will use these geofence techniques at all TravelCenters of America locations in New York, while also employing posters and hand cards to reinforce the message. Several locations in Western NY will be used in this campaign, including the TravelCenters of America Corfu location at 8420 Alleghany Road, and NYS Thruway service areas Angola and Clarence. 

“We want to show all drivers that the ENS system can stave off tragedies,” said Phil Merens, state coordinator of New York Operation Lifesaver. “It’s a shame that so few people know about the blue and white ENS sign at every at-grade railroad crossing.

"We’re extremely excited to be working with TravelCenters of America on this campaign. They’re one of the largest and best run truck stop operators in the U.S., and their participation in this campaign will help us reach an enormous number of professional drivers across New York.”

“When New York Operation Lifesaver approached us about partnering on this safety campaign, we realized this outreach effort could save the lives of some of the hardest working people in America, professional drivers,” said Barry Richards, president of TravelCenters of America.

“These heroic men and women have kept this country moving through COVID-19 and we’re happy to do anything to help keep these professional drivers safe while working so hard for everyone in this nation.”

During the course of New York Operation Lifesaver’s safety campaign, the ENS message has been seen over a million times, with millions of on-line ads and video plays still to come as the campaign continues through October. It is estimated that due to TravelCenters of America’s partnership in this campaign, that every day nearly a thousand New Yorkers will see the ENS posters or receive a hand card educating them about ENS basics.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have the access to professional drivers where they work. Our partnership with TravelCenters of America is an example of corporate community engagement for a great cause; saving lives,” Merens said. 

October 9, 2020 - 3:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Milestones, Le Roy, batavia, elba, corfu, bergen, Oakfield.

Buffalo State is pleased to welcome the Class of 2024 to campus. The new Bengals started class on Aug. 31, 2020.

  • Clayton Allen, of Le Roy 
  • Lukas Cochran, of Batavia 
  • Morgan Harrington, of Elba 
  • Tyler Keller, of Corfu 
  • Benjamin Paserk, of Batavia
  • Samuel Pringle, of Bergen 
  • Kristina Simon, of Oakfield 
  • Brianna Smith, of Oakfield

Buffalo State is a State University of New York (SUNY) college located in Buffalo. The college offers 79 undergraduate majors as well as many minors and certificate programs. Every year, thousands of students benefit from Buffalo State's community engagement, hands-on learning opportunities, and affordable SUNY tuition. Buffalo State also offers more than 60 graduate programs.

October 5, 2020 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in plane crash, news, corfu, notify.

The engine of an airplane that went down in a swampy and wooded area off of Boyce Road in Corfu was recovered today after being dug out from under more than 10 feet of mud, Sheriff William Sheron said this afternoon.

"One of the biggest problems we've had," Sheron said, "is water going back into the hole. It's a very high water table right there."

The search for pieces of the airplane, which disintegrated on impact, Sheron said, is complete and the parts are being shipped to Nashville for further investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The search for human remains continues. Mud has been removed from the crash site, Sheron said, and crews will sift through it in an attempt to recover more remains of the deceased. That process will go through at least all of tomorrow and perhaps into Wednesday.

Attorneys Steve Barnes and Elizabeth Barnes died in the crash at about noon Friday when the 2009 SOCATA TBM-850 fell from the sky as it passed over Genesee County.

The cause of the crash remains undetermined. A few minutes before the plane veered off course and started a rapid descent, the pilot, Steve Barnes, told an air traffic controller "everything is fine."

The plane does not have what is commonly referred to as a "black box" but some flight data is recorded on the plane. Sheron said the recording disk is about the size of a SIM* card (like you have in your mobile phone) and it has not been located.

More personal items of the victims were recovered today. Sheron said the ID of one victim has been recovered and other items have been recovered that were personal to the individuals.

"My team is doing a very, very thorough job on collecting human remains," said Coroner Jeff McIntyre. 

Today, he said, the team dug as far as the mini-excavator would go, McIntyre said. By that point, no other items related to the crash were being found so, he said, he's confident they've dug down as far as needed to recover any human remains.

The human remains are being sent to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office for examination and DNA confirmation of the victim's identities.

*The acronym stands for subscriber identity module, or subscriber identification module.


October 4, 2020 - 7:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in plane crash, news, corfu, video.
Video Sponsor

This afternoon, Sheriff William Sheron and Coroner Jeff McIntyre held a press conference in Corfu, near the site of Friday's plane crash that claimed the life of attorney Steve Barnes and his niece, Elizabeth Barnes, also an attorney.

Sheron said human remains have been recovered but the search continues. 

McIntyre said the remains will be sent to Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office for positive identification.

Sheron said authorities are certain at this point that Barnes and his niece were on the plane and that they were the only two people aboard the plane.

The plane's impact created a 10-foot deep crater in a swampy area that is prone to fill with water and mud, making recovery difficult.

The recovery at the crash site could take another 48 hours.

The FAA is handling many of the duties that might otherwise be handled by the NTSB investigators and both Sheron and McIntyre are confident the investigation will be handled appropriately.  The NTSB investigators are not traveling because of COVID-19 concerns. The wreckage will be transported to Nashville where NTSB investigators will examine it.

October 4, 2020 - 10:41am
posted by Press Release in plane crash, corfu, news.

Press release:

Congressmembers Brian Higgins (NY-26) and Chris Jacobs (NY-27) are calling on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to send investigators to the scene of fatal airplane crash in Genesee County.  The Western New York leaders made the request in a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator and NTSB Chairman. 

Higgins and Jacobs write in part, “the agency must develop and execute an appropriate plan to adequately and safely examine the crash site as soon as possible. Neglecting to do so leaves crucial information about what caused this tragic crash unknown.”

A small aircraft departing Manchester, New Hampshire, crashed on Friday, Oct. 2 in the vicinity of Corfu, New York, never reaching its Buffalo, New York destination. The crash tragically killed both on board; Steve Barnes ,the pilot and a Western New York attorney, as well as his passenger and niece Elizabeth Barnes, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

According to the NTSB’s website: “At the core of NTSB investigations is the ‘Go Team.’ The purpose of the Safety Board ‘Go Team’ is simple and effective: Begin the investigation of a major accident at the accident scene, as quickly as possible, assembling the broad spectrum of technical expertise that is needed to solve complex transportation safety problems.”

The NTSB has indicated they don’t plan to send a “Go Team” of investigators to the Western New York crash site due to COVID-19, and will instead only provide a remote review of the accident. 

Unfortunately, Western New York has been hit hard by several fatal aviation accidents including most recently the crash of a helicopter flown by Buffalo developer Mark Croce in January 2020 and the crash of Flight 3407 in February 2009 killing all on board and one on the ground. NTSB investigators were sent to the scene of both accidents. The NTSB Flight 3407 report led to sweeping changes to improve airline safety. 

Higgins and Jacobs stressed the value of on-site investigators writing, “No community knows the importance of an NTSB investigation more than Western New York. These investigations prevent future losses of life, result in safer skies, and bring closure to those who have lost loved ones. We strongly urge the NTSB to proceed expeditiously with a full investigation including the deployment of on-site investigators.”


October 4, 2020 - 9:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in plane crash, news, corfu, notify.

The Genesee County Coroner's Office has begun the process of recovering human remains from Friday's airplane crash site near Route 33 and Boyce Road in Corfu, according to Coroner Jeff McIntyre.

McIntyre said it will be a long process.

"I am unsure as to how long this will take, as the plane buried itself fairly deep in mud," McIntyre said. "My office arrived on the scene yesterday at 2 p.m. along with an aircraft recovery and salvage company contracted by the NTSB. We still have not found remains." 

There are three coroners from Genesee County at the crash site along with the chief coroner from Orleans County, a forensic anthropologist from Wyoming County, along with volunteers from East Pembroke and Corfu fire departments, and staff from the Genesee County Emergency Management Office and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

"My thoughts and prayers go to the Barnes family during this tragic time," McIntyre said.


October 3, 2020 - 7:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, news, notify, plane crash.


When Mary Doktor heard the sound of an airplane clearly in distress passing over her house on Boyce Road yesterday just before noon, she looked up and saw a small plane passing overhead.

She knew it was too low to the ground and the engine was sputtering, making a strange "winding" sound.

"I knew it was going down and I thought, 'Thank God, he's not hitting my house,' " Doktor said. "That's what I thought. It was scary ... .  Poor guy."

The plane, she said, was still relevantly level with the ground and the nose was not pointed down, she said.

She ran into her house to call 9-1-1 and then heard a boom.

"I ran back out and jumped in my car," she said. "I was scared at that point that somebody else's house was hit. I never even called 9-1-1."

The crash site was about a mile into the woods from Boyce Road. It wasn't possible for Doktor to get to the crash site but she could smell fuel in the air. There was no fireball, just a small plume of smoke rising in the air.

Steve Barnes,  of Cellino and Barnes, and his niece Elizabeth Barnes apparently died in the crash, though the Sheriff's Office has not yet officially released the names of the victims.

Barnes was flying a 2009 SOCATA 700N, commonly referred to by aviators as a TBM-850, with the tail number N965DM, from Manchester, N.H., to Buffalo. Barnes had been in radio contact with Boston Center but apparently lost radio contact with air controllers there and a short time later made contact with air traffic control in Buffalo.

Once contact was established, a controller informed him to maintain 8,000 feet and asked him if everything is fine. "Yes, sir," Barnes responded. "Everything is fine."

A couple of minutes later, radar shows his plan veering north. The air traffic controller says, "965 Delta Mike, stop your descent, level your wings, maintain your altitude." 

Twice more the controller tells Barnes to stop his descent. There is no response.

"965 Delta Mike, how do you hear?" The controller asks.

Within seconds, the plane disappears from radar.

"Radar contact loss," the controller says.

This afternoon, Sheriff William Sheron there was a change in plans for investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board to visit the crash site. The FAA is conducting the on-site investigation. The debris will be shipped to Nashville where it will be examined by the NTSB and the manufacturer.

TOP Photo: Genesee County Emergency Management vehicles parked this morning on land off of Route 33 near the crash site in Corfu.

October 2, 2020 - 5:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, corfu, news, bow hunting.


Sean Akin of Corfu landed this buck yesterday, the first day of bow hunting this season.

October 2, 2020 - 12:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, corfu, airplane accident, notify, pembroke.

A small airplane is reported down in the area of 9115 Boyce Road in Corfu. The call to dispatch was initially placed by the Buffalo Airport and subsequently a female caller told a dispatcher the crash was in the woods behind her house.

Buffalo authorities said the plane can hold up to six passengers, but it is unknown how many people are on board.

Corfu and East Pembroke fire departments are responding with a UTV and a hazmat team is called as a precautionary measure.

First responders near the scene say the smell of fuel is in the air.

Law enforcement says the plane is due west (about a half mile) of the Boyce Road address; behind "Mr. Fry's residence." A laneway is nearby but the site of the impact, with heavy damage apparent, is accessible only by foot.

UPDATE 12:08 p.m.: Pembroke and Indian Falls fire police are asked to shut down Boyce Road at Route 33 and Route 5. "The impact hole is apparent but no bodies." "We're looking for victims."

UPDATE 12:11 p.m.: "I don't see anybody -- we're going to have to do a search of the woods," says a firefighter.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: A crew from Crittenden Fire Department in Erie County is asked to fill in at Corfu's hall.

UPDATE 12:23 p.m.: Amherst Fire Department in Erie County is asked to stand by in their quarters.

UPDATE 12:49 p.m.: Mercy Flight (top photo) was briefly assisting in the search. It is back in service and the State Police Helicopter is doing an air search. Newstead fire is standing by in quarters.

UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: The Buffalo-based plane was returning to Buffalo from Manchester, NH, at the time it crashed. According to its aircraft registration summary, it is a 2009 SOCATA, with seven seats and a single Turbo-prop engine with 850 horsepower, referred to in the aviation industry at a TBM-850.

UPDATE 2:09 p.m.: Below is an image of the model of aircraft that crashed from the manufacturer's website, courtesy of our news partner WBTA.

UPDATE 3:27 p.m.: The plane is registered to an address that is shared by that of the high-profile law firm of Cellino & Barnes.

UPDATE 3:52 p.m.: According to Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron Jr., there were two people on board, a male and a female, but he declined to provide identification pending notification of family. There are no survivors. The Buffalo News has confirmed that attorney Stephen Barnes, a licensed pilot, was on board. The impact was severe and it created a large crater in the ground and a huge debris field. The plane nearly disintegrated; the largest part of the plane that could be found was a piece of a wing only 3 to 4 feet long. He said it will be quite some time before remains can be recovered and that will be difficult. Federal Aviation Administration personnel are on scene.








UPDATE Oct. 3, 2:09 p.m.: Below is the actual aircraft piloted by Stephen Barnes, registered as N965DM LLC. Technically it is a 2009 SOCATA 700N version, but aviators refer to it as an TBM-850, according to reader Jim Riner. He's a Byron native who now lives in Englewood, Colo., and works for Wetzel Aviation. Riner sent us this photo from the FlightAware website.

October 1, 2020 - 3:22pm

Rochester Regional Health will resume lab services at its Pembroke Laboratory Service Center location effective today, Oct. 1.

With health and safety at the top of mind, we have new safety measures and processes in place to protect patients.

  • A maximum of two patients will be allowed inside the facility at a time.
  • Patients will need to call upon arrival to check in and be directed to enter the building when a room is ready.
  • Masks will be provided to any patient who arrives without one.

While care may look different, please rest assured that we are delivering the same high-quality care we always have.

Lab services are resuming with new hours at this location:

Rochester Regional Health Laboratory Service Center – Pembroke

860 Main Road

Corfu, NY 14036

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

  • 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday

  • 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Closed weekend and holidays.

Rochester Regional Health Labs at 16 Bank St., Batavia, and 3 Tountas Ave., Le Roy, are also open for your convenience. Visit rochesterregional.org for office hours and more information.

September 29, 2020 - 10:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Donald Trump, corfu, pembroke, news.

Overnight, President Donald Trump shared with his more than 86 million Twitter followers a video of the five "Trump Trailers" that were painted "Trump 2020" by local residents and paraded more than a week ago on routes 33, 77 and 5 on the west side of Genesee County.

The tweet has been retweeted 19,000 times and liked more than 84,000 times. The video now has more than one million views.

Previously: Photos: Five trailers supporting Trump's reelection put on display in western part of Genesee County

September 28, 2020 - 2:54pm
posted by Press Release in bank of castile, batavia, news, corfu.

Press release:

Travis Sick has recently joined Tompkins Bank of Castile as Branch Manager in the Arcade office. In his new role, he is responsible for overseeing daily operations of the branch, staff development and customer care. In addition, he also oversees business development for Tompkins, focusing on gaining new customers and retaining existing ones.

Prior to joining Tompkins, Sick worked three years as the Director of Game Day Operations & Special Events for the Rochester Red Wings and nine years as General Manager of the Batavia Muckdogs. In those roles, he was responsible for business development, overseeing operations and outside events, as well as providing a high level of customer service.

“We are pleased to welcome Travis to our growing community banking team,” said Diane Torcello, senior vice president, Community Banking. “He will ensure that we continue to provide the highest level of customer service while creating mutually beneficial financial relationships with small business customers. He will truly be an asset to our team.”

Sick earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management and business management from St. John Fisher College. He currently resides in Corfu.

September 27, 2020 - 2:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in M&T Bank, corfu, business.

The M&T Bank branch at 1 E. Main St., in the Village of Corfu, is closing its lobby and offices but keeping its ATM, according to a spokeswoman for the company.

Customers were informed on Friday, according to Julia Berchou, VP, public relations for M&T.

"We have no plans to close any other branches in Genesee, Orleans or Wyoming County," Berchou said.

Customers can also bank by phone (1-800-724-2440), online at www.mtb.com, and via Apple and Android mobile apps.

Berchou said bank staff at other nearby branches are available for virtual meetings with customers.

In addition, team members at nearby branches are also available to meet virtually with customers.

The decision to close the branch was difficult, Berchou said but the closure will help improve efficiency and help the bank serve customers where they are located.

"From banking online or by phone to scheduling branch appointments—customers have greater access to the bank than ever before," Berchou said. "And because our customers’ needs and the ways they bank with us constantly change, we continually evaluate where our branches are located and how we can deliver the best value and convenience to our customers."

September 24, 2020 - 4:10pm
posted by Press Release in crime, news, notify, corfu, mail fraud, USPS.

Press release:

U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. announced today that Julie Keller, 55, of Corfu, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with mail fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan P. Cantil, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, between 2014 and August 2020, the defendant engaged as a money mule for various internet-based scams, accepting and redirecting thousands of dollars to Africa.

During that time, she had accounts closed by at least five different national and local banks due to suspicious cash, check, money order, and wire activity.

This July 17, the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) received a request for assistance from the Boston, Mass., Police Department. A detective was investigating a report of an individual (C.R.P.), who believed she had been defrauded in relation to a rental property listed on the online classified site, Craigslist.

In June, 2020, C.R.P. replied to an advertisement for an available apartment for rent and, ultimately agreed to rent a property listed on their local Craigslist site. All communication between the supposed landlord and C.R.P. was completed via text message. The supposed landlord instructed C.R.P. to split the deposit for the rental between an electronic payment via an electronic cellular telephone application, or “cash app,” and by money order, using the U.S. Mail.

The supposed landlord instructed C.R.P. to send the money order to Julie Keller in Corfu, who was identified as an accountant. The investigation determined that the address provided by the supposed landlord is a United States Postal Service (USPS) Facility in Corfu and Keller is employed by the USPS as a mail carrier.

After C.R.P. made the down payments as instructed, the person listing the property ceased all contact, and the property was never secured or occupied by C.R.P.

C.R.P. provided a number of screenshots from her cellular telephone, depicting her text communications with the individual who had listed the rental property. Subsequent investigation determined that other individuals sent the defendant down payments for the rental property listed on Craigslist.

A cursory look into Keller's banking history revealed that she had a pattern of suspicious cash, check, money order and wire activity totaling in excess of $150,000 dating back to 2014. Records indicated Keller had been either deceptive or unresponsive when questioned by bank personnel about the nature of her transactions. Her activities included the use of national and local banks, as well as Western Union and MoneyGram.

Keller made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. and was released on conditions.

The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Joseph W. Cronin of the Boston, Mass., Division.

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