Former Postal Employee Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Post Office
MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a former employee of the United States Post Office pleaded guilty to issuing money orders to himself, among other offenses. Wayne E. O’Connell, age 52, of the northwestern Minnesota community of Shelly, specifically pleaded guilty to one count of misappropriation of postal funds. O’Connell, who was charged on July 5, 2013, entered his plea before U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank.
In his plea agreement, O’Connell admitted stealing cash from the money drawer at the Shelby post office and using funds received from the sale of post office box rentals for his own use. In addition, O’Connell admitted issuing postal money orders to himself without paying for them.
Authorities began investigating O’Connell after learning that money orders issued from the Shelby post office were being cashed prior to the dates they were reportedly issued. In December 2012, an audit of the post office identified shortages of $2,729.85 in cash and stamps.
For his crime, O’Connell faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. Judge Frank will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled. This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service-Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin S. Ueland.