Dozens of USPS Employees Charged With Mail Theft and Embezzlement

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Federal authorities have charged dozens of Southern California postal workers and their associates with mail theft, embezzlement and an array of other crimes as part of a sweeping investigation into criminal activity at the U.S. Postal Service.

A total of 33 defendants were charged in 28 cases, including one individual who was found to have had had tens of thousands of pieces of mail in her possession, according to a statement released Friday by the United States attorney’s office for the Central District of California.

Arrest warrants were issued for six of the 33 defendants, officials said.

In addition to mail theft and embezzlement by postal workers and contractors, some of the cases involve bank fraud and false statements; a few allege crimes by people who are not USPS employees.

“The mail system plays an important role in our country’s commerce and social communication. Maintaining its integrity is vital,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. “Mail theft across Southern California has increased recently, which is significant since this type of crime tends to be a precursor to other crimes like identity theft and drug offenses. As a result, we are stepping up enforcement.”

The alleged mail theft manifested itself in a variety of bizarre and disturbing forms, according to prosecutors.

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SOURCE: LA Times, Matt Stevens