MISSOULA — A Missoula man today admitted to a charge accusing him of stealing and cashing gift cards from a birthday card while he worked for the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Lassana Diaby, 40, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging him with theft of mail by officer or employee. Diaby faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston presided. Sentencing was set for June 1 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Diaby was released pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that on March 26, 2021, a U.S. Postal Service customer reported items were stolen from a birthday card that was sent to his locking mailbox in Missoula. The sender confirmed that she mailed the card on March 20, 2021 from Whitefish and that it contained a $200 gift card to Costco, two $100 gift cards to Amazon and $40 cash. An investigation determined that Diaby presented his Costco membership card and the gift card to complete a purchase at the Costco in Missoula and presented his receipt to a Costco employee at the exit. At the time, Diaby worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail processing clerk and completed night shifts on March 20 to 23, including working several hours in the manual letter sorting section.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.