Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

At USPS, the Good Apples Outweigh the Bad Ones

January 10, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Office of Inspector General OIG

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

When describing our investigative work, we often say the overwhelming majority of postal employees work conscientiously to deliver the nation’s mail, but sometimes a few bad apples abuse the public’s trust in the Postal Service. What about the really good apples — those who deter postal crimes? We thought sharing such a story would be a great way to kick off the New Year.

In 2021, a few mail carriers in the Northeast were approached by two suspects while delivering mail to their routes. The suspects offered the carriers bribes in exchange for Postal Service uniforms and arrow keys. These keys are proprietary and highly controlled, as they open both blue collection boxes and Cluster Box Units, such as those found in apartment buildings. They’re a high commodity for criminals seeking to steal from the U.S. Mail. What’s worse is that sometimes criminals try to take the keys by violent force.

Those mail carriers did the right thing by putting the suspects on the Postal Inspection Service’s radar. Our special agents were called in to determine whether any postal employees were involved in the scheme.

In a joint sting operation, the two suspects — a couple — were identified as part of the conspiracy. When investigators executed a search warrant of the main suspect’s phone, they found images of countless stolen checks and several firearms.

The two criminals were arrested and charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. In the fall of 2023, the main suspect was sentenced to two years in prison while his partner was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison. Each was also sentenced to three years’ supervised release and ordered to pay over $6,000 in restitution.

The postal workers were commended by postal management and investigators for doing the right thing. It is acts like these that preserve the public’s trust in the Postal Service when a few individuals seek to abuse it.

Help protect our postal workers from criminal activity: if you suspect or know of anyone trying to illegally obtain postal arrow keys, uniforms, or other property, please report it to our Hotline.

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