#27 Mar 30, 2013
The United States Postal Service is one of America's oldest institutions, in one form or another dating all the way back to Ben Franklin's day. Today, however, the financial viability of the USPO is in serious question.
According to a report (PDF) released this month by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Postal Service is in deep trouble. Mail volume has decline from 2007 to 2009 and, in 2009 alone, mail volume dropped by "a record 26 billion pieces, while revenue dropped nearly $7 billion."
All this brings rise to the question posed above, should the U.S. Postal Service stop carrying letters altogether? Is the Post Office obsolete?
Most of us don't send First-Class Mail letters anymore, with the possible exception of when we pay some bills. Sure, around the holidays, we might send out some cards, but even then, we're sending more and more electronic cards and less of the old paper variety.
There's also the issue of disadvantaged Americans without access to the Internet. The Internet is a fact of life now and even the very poor will have to get online or risk being even further marginalized, Post Office or not. This is a very serious problem that goes well beyond the Postal Service, because being online is now a virtual necessity to participating functionally in our society.
The loss of First-Class Mail revenue is a brutal problem for the Postal Service, because "this mail is highly profitable and generates over 70 percent of the revenues used to cover USPS overhead cost". Yep, income from the one type of mail that pays the bills is dropping because no one uses it anymore.
First-Class Mail income dropped 19% since 2001 and the USPS expects it to plummet another 37% in the next 10 years. Don't expect advertising mail to save the Post Office's bacon, either. Revenue from advertising mail has remained flat, although it's profitable. And while the GAO doesn't say this, it's clear to any of us who watch online trends that advertising postage revenue won't remain flat -- it's going to drop like a stone since more and more advertising is going digital.
#29 Mar 30, 2013
Syracuse (WSYR-TV)- Central New York postal workers and their supporters joined colleagues throughout the US in an effort to save the post office Tuesday.
A rally taking place in Downtown Syracuse is one of many taking place to stave off major cuts in postal services along with tens of thousands of jobs.
Workers are asking Congress to approve a measure that would allow pension funds to be used to pull the Postal Service out of the red.
HR 1351 would let the Postal Service use billions of dollars in pension overpayments to meet a Congressional mandate to pre-fund 75 years’ worth of health care benefits for future retirees. The measure is being proposed after a year in which the post office suffered more than $8 billion in losses. Now the post office is facing a loss of $10 billion more.
The post office has seen an enormous decline for the past five years in its regular first-class mail. Jobs have already been cut and processing facilities closed.
Some of the losses have generated odd shipping routes for mail. For example, if a Watertown resident sends a letter to another resident in the city, it travels 62 miles to a massive processing center in North Syracuse and then 62 miles back to Watertown. The post office claims, however, that the circuitous route is actually more efficient because so few people use first-class mail to send a letter across town.
#30 Mar 30, 2013
BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP — A Burlington County letter carrier has been accused of stealing cash and gift cards out of envelopes he was to deliver, according to a report on PhillyBurbs.com .
Paul Walsh, 29, of Hamilton, Mercer County aroused residents' suspicions after some noticed that mail they had been expecting never arrived or appeared to be tampered with, the report said.
Investigators then put a hidden camera inside Walsh's truck, which revealed he opened more than 60 pieces of mail, the newspaper reported.
Walsh was arrested Tuesday and later released after posting $100,000 bail.
#31 Mar 30, 2013
An on-duty mailman was arrested Monday after allegedly choking an 11-year-old girl who was supposedly taunting him after the letter carrier inadvertently walked into the women’s bathroom at a park in Commerce, U.S. Postal Service and law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Daniel Villasenor, 55, allegedly choked the young girl after she laughed at him when he accidently stepped into the women’s restroom at Bristow Park on Monday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Several witnesses corroborated the girl’s story, sheriff’s officials said. Villasensor was found nearby and arrested.
The 31-year Postal Service employee is on unpaid leave while the investigation continues, said Richard Mahe, spokesman for USPS. The incident is also being probed by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
NBC4's attempts to contact Villasenor's family for comment were declined late Tuesday. But Villasenor's neighbor in Temple City, Leo Ferraris, described the letter carrier as a "helluva guy" who never lashed out.
"He'll be barbecuing stuff and he’ll say,'I’ve got stuff to bring over to you so don’t fix dinner tonight,'" Ferraris said.
Villasenor is jailed on $100,000 bail and has been booked on one felony count of willful cruelty to a child.
#32 Mar 30, 2013
BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury today indicted a former U.S. Postal Service employee for a wire fraud scheme in which he falsified electronic travel vouchers totaling more than $30,000, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Postal Service Office of Inspector General Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Nugent.
The indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges BOBBY W. BRUCE JR., 36, of Gadsden, with submitting 39 false expense vouchers through the Postal Service’s electronic travel expense system. Bruce sought mileage reimbursement between January 2012 and October 2012 for official travel that he never took, according to the indictment. Once the fictitious expense claim was submitted, Bruce used his manager’s computer login information to approve the voucher, the indictment says.
The Postal Service Finance and Account Center in Minnesota approved the falsified vouchers and paid $31,126 as mileage reimbursement into Bruce’s credit union account in Gadsden, according to the indictment.
The indictment seeks to have Bruce forfeit that amount as proceeds of illegal activity.
The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Terence M. O’Rourke is prosecuting.
#33 Mar 30, 2013
Tennessee postal worker printed $32K in money orders to pay for drug habit
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Sean Thomas Dennis, 29, formerly of La Follette, Tenn., pleaded guilty on Jan. 18, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, to an indictment charging him with fraudulently issuing U.S. Postal Money Orders. Sentencing has been set for 10:30 a.m., Apr. 8, 2013, before the Honorable Thomas W. Phillips, U.S. District Judge.
In conjunction with his guilty plea, Dennis, a former U.S. Postal Service employee, admitted to issuing money orders without having first receiving or paying the full amount required for their issuance. Between October 2010 through January 2011, Dennis embezzled $32,096.21 from the U.S. Postal Service by fraudulently issuing 43 money orders. He told federal investigators that committed these acts to obtain money to finance his drug addiction.
This conviction was the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank M. Dale, Jr. represented the United States.
#34 Mar 30, 2013
The Postal Service says there were 333 cases of theft, delay or destruction of mail by employees or contractors filed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.
Some involve just a single piece of mail, such as money or gift cards taken from an envelope. A California postal manager was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing thousands of DVDs.
More than 600,000 postal employees in March received a reminder in their pay statement that delaying, stealing or throwing away mail is a crime. "You don't have to be a genius to know," it said with an image of Albert Einstein.
#35 Mar 30, 2013
Postal worker arrested for delivering mail while naked
A U.S. Postal Service carrier said he felt bad and stupid after being arrested for delivering mail to a law firm in Whitefish Bay while buck naked.
David A. Goodman, 52, said he was only trying to cheer up a 21-year-old female employee of the law firm who had "seemed to be stressed out" when he made his first delivery to the office Dec. 4, according to a report from the Whitefish Bay Police Department.
Goodman, of the 7500 block of N. Seneca Road in Fox Point, was cited for lewd and lascivious behavior, a citation that carries a $681 forfeiture, police said.
According to the police report, officers were called to the law office in the 300 block of E. Silver Spring Drive shortly after 1:30 p.m. on "a report of a naked postal carrier in the building's hallway."
"No naked subjects or postal carriers were observed by officers," when they checked the parking lot of the building, the report states.
The employee told officers that when "Mailman Dave" arrived at the office about 1 p.m. to make the regular delivery, she mentioned that she still had to pick up the law firm's mail from its post office box.
She said Goodman left but returned about 10 minutes later and knocked on the door.
After the woman opened the door, Goodman entered the office, where, "she was shocked to see that he was naked."
"The woman turned away from Goodman, held out her hand and said, "Give me the mail and get out of here."
Goodman immediately began to apologize before leaving the office, only to return about 20 minutes later to apologize through a closed door.
The woman said she did not believe Goodman intended to harm her and that her boss told her to call police.
Goodman was arrested a short time later at the North Shore Post Office and taken to the police station. There, the police report states, he admitted making the naked mail delivery and said he was only trying to cheer up the woman and make her laugh.
"He stated that he took off his clothes, laid them next to the doorway and knocked on the door," the report says.
"After (the woman) let him in, he could immediately see that he had upset her and immediately felt bad and stupid. He apologized, left the office and got dressed," the report states.
Goodman told officers the woman had seemed stressed out and had a lot going on with school and work. He said he told her he intended to pick up the firm's mail from the post office box and deliver it naked.
He also said he took her response to his statement as a dare.
The woman, however, said she never heard such a statement and did not dare him.
#36 Mar 30, 2013
(NEWSER) – A former Massachusetts postal worker has pleaded guilty to stealing 30,000 Netflix DVDs that passed through the Springfield post office, the Republican reports. Investigators got wise to the crime—which spanned all of 2007—when the company noticed it was losing up to a 100 DVDs a week in the area. Myles Weathers’ guilty plea could drop his sentence from a possible 5 years to 10 months. He owes Netflix $36,000 for the discs—and $2,000 in extra mailing costs.
#37 Mar 30, 2013
ROMEO (WWJ)- A sting operation helped U.S. Postal Inspectors track down a local letter carrier who was allegedly stealing mail from customers on her delivery route.
According to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Romeo mail carrier Cynthia Winters is charged with theft of mail by a postal employee. She was released on a $10,000 bond and is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on March 21.
The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General launched an investigation around Christmas time after several residents in Romeo complained that gift cards they sent out weren’t making it to those intended to receive them.
Investigators were able to track the gift cards and found that they were in fact being used at several gas stations, retail outlets and food stores in Macomb County in the days after they were sent out in the mail.
After reviewing security footage from the stores where the gift cards were fraudulently used, federal investigators soon focused on Winters.
On February 14, officials used a dummy letter marked “U.S. Currency,” which contained $40 and a special device that would send investigators a signal if the envelope was opened. Authorities say the alarm went off just 10 minutes after Winters left the post office with that day’s deliveries.
Federal agents who were following Winters pulled her over in the parking lot of the Ford engine plant on 32 Mile Road, where they reportedly found a gift card Winters’ purse that was addressed to a customer on her delivery route, along with several other pieces of opened mail in her vehicle.
Investigators say Winters eventually admitted to stealing approximately 20 items from the mail since the summer of 2012. She allegedly told investigators that she took the gift cards to pay for things for her six kids and 17 grandchildren.
“I didn’t have anything to give them so I would look for the gift cards and cash inside the mail,” Winters said, according to court records.
If convicted as charged, Winters faces up to five years in prison.
#38 Mar 31, 2013
FRESNO, Calif.— United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that today Chief United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii sentenced Karina S. Beard, 44, of Turlock, to one year in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for four counts of mail fraud and two counts of federal workers’ compensation fraud. Beard was also ordered to pay $81,694 in restitution.
According to court documents, Beard worked as a distribution and window clerk for the Postal Service in Groveland. From October 2006 through January 2009, Beard received federal workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury. Because of her claimed injuries, restrictions were placed on Beard’s physical activities: no reaching, no pushing, no pulling, no driving for more than 20 minutes, etc. Yet, Beard performed various physical tasks, such as horseback riding, caring for horses, yard work, and driving all using the purportedly injured part of her body. Because of claims Beard made in routine Department of Labor questionnaires, she continued to receive workers’ compensation benefits, all while not entitled to such benefits.
At least once a year the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs is required to ask every total disability benefit claimant whether the claimant has had any employment, earnings, or changes in their medical condition over the previous 15 months. In compliance with regulations, OWCP sends out a questionnaire to each claimant. Claimants reporting changes in employment, earnings, or their medical conditions on the questionnaire may experience a reduction or termination of benefits.
This case was the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy R. Jehangiri prosecuted the case.
“Workers’ compensation fraud is a serious crime and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General will vigorously pursue anyone who commits this offense. Today’s sentencing shows that our agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will not tolerate abuse of the workers’ compensation program and violators will be brought to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Nichole Cooper, Pacific Area Field Office, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Beard was ordered to begin serving her sentence on February 16, 2012.
#39 Mar 31, 2013
Dorothy Jean Gibson, age 56, of Windsor Mill, MD, pleaded guilty Friday to theft of mail by a postal service employee.
Video that was part of the investigation shows her opening greeting card envelopes and putting mail, gift cards and cash into her handbag, according to a news release from the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office.
She worked at the Linthicum Incoming Mail Facility, and faces five years in prison and supervised release.
#40 Jul 13, 2013
Mine is when a guy at the counter starting attacking my family and i made a few complaints and now he is very VERY angry.
he tried to tell a newer person not to wait on me but the newer clerk ignored him and, oh well, nice try.
#41 Jul 14, 2013
we aint mad. high blood pressure and stress. stealing mail after doubling scanning. dumb azz. we aint mad and we aint going away.
#42 Jul 15, 2013
The man lived in a cluttered, battered Buffalo home and was in need of help when Peter Saraceno first met him years ago while delivering the mail.
So Saraceno befriended the man, a fellow veteran. He helped him move into a better house, he ran errands for him, he washed his clothes.
But Saraceno also embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the man’s life savings to finance a gambling habit, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
Saraceno, 63, a retired postal carrier from West Seneca, is accused of stealing roughly $400,000 from a 78-year-old who uses a wheelchair over the last seven years, said Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.
Saraceno pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny Friday before Erie County Judge Michael D’Amico and faces a maximum of 15 years behind bars when sentenced Sept. 27.
The relationship between the mail carrier and his customer goes back at least 20 years to when the man was a stop on Saraceno’s route in the Bailey-Delavan neighborhood, Sedita said.
“He delivers the mail and starts to strike up a relationship with him,” Sedita said Friday.“The victim becomes more and more dependent on this guy and starts to trust him.”
The friendship grew to the point where Saraceno eventually became a joint account holder on one of the victim’s bank accounts, said Assistant District Attorney Candace K. Vogel, who prosecutes financial elder abuse.
Saraceno made ATM withdrawals, wrote checks to himself and made wire transfers over a period between 2006 and February of this year, the prosecutors said.
He admitted to using the money to finance his casino gambling, prosecutors added.
#43 Jul 15, 2013
Vernon Harrison of Montgomery, Ala., a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, was recently found guilty of one count of conspiring to file false claims, eight counts of mail fraud, eight counts of aggravated identity theft and six counts of embezzlement from the U.S. mail for his involvement in a stolen identity refund fraud conspiracy.
According to court records, Harrison and others used stolen identities to file false tax returns, then had the refunds sent to debit cards which were mailed to addresses on Harrison's postal route in Montgomery. Harrison then stole at least 100 debit cards from the mail and gave them to a co-conspirator in exchange for cash.
"We trust our mail carriers to deliver, not steal our mail," U.S. Attorney George L. Beck said in a statement. "Harrison abused that trust. Harrison and his criminal organization not only stole innocent people’s identities, filed fraudulent tax returns and received tax refunds not owed to them, but they used Harrison’s position as a mail carrier to steal these debit cards from the mail. This criminal behavior will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
#44 Jul 15, 2013
Greenville, Tenn.- United States Postal service employee Phyllis Greene entered a plea of guilty today to one count information in which she was charged with secreting, detaining and delaying United States mail entrusted to her for delivery on her assigned rural delivery route.
United States Attorney James R. Dedrick stated that over 10,700 pieces of mail, including approximately 5,800 first class letter pieces were recovered and subsequently delivered to over 250 postal customers in Sullivan Count, Tenn. Greene was charged in one-count information with a violation of 18 United States Code Sections 1703(a), delay or destruction of mail or newspaper by a Postal Service officer or employee. A violation of this statue could result in a maximum sentence of five years incarceration, a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined by the court.
Greene was assigned to deliver mail on route 22 in Kingsport, Sullivan County in the Eastern District of Tennessee from late 2004 to late 2006. Greene had rented unit C-10 at American Storage Center in Kingsport continuously from Nov. 1, 2005, to the present. On Feb. 21, 2007, a manager at American Storage Center discovered that rental unit C-10 was partially open. For security reasons, the manager looked inside the unit, and observed multiple bags and bins marked "United States Postal Service" as well as loose pieces of what we obviously undelivered mail.
Special agents from the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General removed the mail from Unit C-10. Based on the postmark dates and addresses on the mail found in the storage unit, Greene would have been given that mail for delivery as part of her duties as a rural carrier for the United States Postal Service.
Greene also rented storage unit B-44 at Brookside Mini-Storage in Kingsport from June 27, 2004 to the present. Greene consented to a search of that unit on March 1, 2007. Again, a large amount of mail entrusted to Greene for delivery to the Kingsport area was located.
In total, over 10,700 pieces of mail, including approximately 5,800 First Class letter pieces, were recovered and subsequently delivered to the intended recipients by the Kingsport Post Office. Additional quantities of mail were destroyed by Phyllis Greene by placing it in garbage bags and leaving it for pickup. More than 250 postal customers were the victims of Greene's actions in secreting or destroying their mail.
#46 Jul 15, 2013
When you send a package through the U.S. Mail, you might not give much thought to who is handling it. But a local postal worker is accused of swiping several priority mail parcels that contained diamonds and jewelry inside.
Authorities say Jeremy Lieberman, of Greece, admitted to stealing valuable packages from the mail distribution center.
Every day, thousands of packages pass through this postal service distribution center on Lyell Avenue. And it is there that federal investigators say postal employee Jeremy Lieberman saw an opportunity to make some extra cash. He worked there handling priority mail packages. But according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Lieberman was rifling through the parcels that he determined had valuable items inside.
Special agents used closed circuit surveillance cameras to watch Lieberman's every move over the course of two months and say on several occasions they saw him chase specific boxes down the moving conveyor belt.
John Field, Assistant U.S. Attorney, said,“So typically what they'd notice him do was he'd pick the package up and shake it and try and determine what was inside of it and based on what was stolen, we know he was focusing on things that were being delivered either to or from jewelry stores or diamond dealers. Things of that nature."
Authorities estimate Lieberman stole tens of thousands of dollars in diamonds and precious metals.
The U.S. Postal Service's Office of Inspector General began investigating after getting complaints of packages that had not made it to their destinations. In a statement, a spokesperson tells I-Team 10,“ Incidents of this nature are relatively rare. However, when our agents do hear of these allegations, we take them very seriously and we do investigate them thoroughly."
Once agents identified Lieberman, they went to his home in Greece and sifted through his garbage.
Field said,“And lo and behold, they found a whole lot of torn up pieces of packages and wrappings that wasn't delivered to Lieberman but was for delivery for someone else."
Agents say they also discovered empty jewelry boxes that likely contained gold and silver rings, earrings, bracelets and chains. Investigators say they have documentation that shows on 31 occasions this year, Lieberman sold similar items at local pawn shops.
I-Team 10 wanted to know what the postal service has in place to safeguard your valuable packages against employee theft. They say they do background checks and drug testing on all job applicants and also give a personality and integrity test before hiring. In Lieberman's case, he is currently suspended without pay.
#47 Jul 17, 2013
Wow! Where and when did that happen?
#48 Jul 17, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C.— A former Fayetteville postal carrier who was receiving worker's compensation payments after injuring herself on the job pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court Monday.
Cathy Wrench Cashwell's claim that she couldn't lift mail trays into a truck due to a 2004 on-the-job shoulder injury was called into question in September 2009 when she appeared on "The Price is Right" and spun the "big wheel" twice.
According to an indictment filed in September 2012, Cashwell "raised her left arm above her head and gripped the handle with her left hand." On a second spin, she "raised both arms above her head and gripped the same handle with both hands."
In August 2010, the indictment alleges, Cashwell and her husband went ziplining as part of a Carnival Cruise vacation. She was also seen lifting and carrying furniture and bags of groceries with both arms on two different occasions in 2011.
Federal investigators say Cashwell knowingly lied when she wrote on her worker's compensation paperwork in September 2011 that she couldn't stand, sit, kneel, squat, climb, bend, reach or grasp.
Private investigator Allison Blackman said worker's compensation fraud is not uncommon.
"There's a lot of people out there not hurt who are drawing worker's comp," he said. "I've seen every kind of case you can see ... Sometimes you have to get in the woods and bushes. The secret is you've got to have your camera up, when they do what they're doing."
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