A postal worker is accused of rifling through greeting cards and stealing from the mail at a processing center in Louisiana, federal officials said.
The former United States Postal Service employee said he had been stealing for months because of tax problems, according to a factual basis filing.
He has now pleaded guilty following accusations of embezzlement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana said in a Nov. 3 news release.
He could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
His defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from McClatchy News on Nov. 3.
In April 2021, USPS received complaints that someone was opening mail at the processing and distribution center in New Orleans, federal officials said.
The agency’s office of the inspector general set up a surveillance operation to investigate the reports.
In October 2021, the employee was seen “rifling through greeting cards he was entrusted to handle,” according to the factual basis.
Agents with the office of the inspector general confronted him at the processing center, the factual basis said. After agreeing to cooperate, the mail handler admitted to embezzling and stealing contents from people’s mail, officials said.
He estimated he stole between $500 and $800 from the mail for months, he told officials, according to the factual basis.
Investigators said they also found several gift cards in his wallet that he said he stole.
He was charged with one count of theft of mail matter by a postal employee in 2022, according to an indictment. He entered the guilty plea Nov. 1, officials said.
He’s expected to be sentenced Feb. 21.