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Local USPS worker charged with gift card fraud

November 3, 2023

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » mtexpress.com

A Hailey man is facing up to five years in state prison if convicted on a felony count of acquiring a financial transaction card with the intent to defraud.

Michael Godinho, 31, was arrested the afternoon of Oct. 15 after Sun Valley police allegedly found him in possession of a $300 Sun Valley Resort gift card purchased by a school in Jerome, according to a police report filed by Sun Valley Police Officer Tony Munoz.

Munoz stated that he began investigating a reported theft and use of the gift card by a Sun Valley postal service employee on Sept. 25. The case was previously reported by the Gooding postmaster and forwarded to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agent Ryan J. Weir.

According to the affidavit, Weir and U.S. Special Agent Michael Riddle attempted to locate Godinho, a distribution associate, at his home in Hailey in July 2023, but “with negative results.”

Weir and Riddle, along with Sun Valley Postmaster Jose Venegas-Hernandez and Sun Valley Co. department employees, then tracked down the gift card and its usage history, Munoz stated. The card, which was sent from Sun Valley to Jerome but failed to arrive at its destination, was used around 27 times in March 2023 in increments of up to $30, Munoz stated, based on Sun Valley Co.’s transaction log.

Surveillance footage provided by Sun Valley Co. allegedly showed Godinho, a distribution associate, using a Sun Valley Co. gift card in a Sun Valley Lodge employee cafeteria on March 28 and 29, 2023, Munoz stated. A cafeteria employee also allegedly said they had served Godinho in the cafeteria, which is open to postal workers.

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