FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 19, 2011
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Postal Employee Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of the Mail
- Admits Taking Mail That Included Donations For Charities -
WASHINGTON - Lisa M. Hunter, 41, a mail processor for the United States Postal Service, pled guilty today to a charge stemming from the theft of more than 900 pieces of mail from a Washington, D.C. postal facility, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Joanne Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Hunter, of Hyattsville, Maryland, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of obstruction of the mail. The Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer scheduled sentencing for December 16, 2011. Hunter faces up to six months of incarceration.
According to the government’s evidence, on June 2, 2011, at approximately 10:40 a.m., Hunter pushed a mail cart through a turnstile at the exit of the Brentwood postal facility, 900 Brentwood Road NE. The cart contained three trays with more than 900 pieces of first-class mail. All of it was addressed to two charities, World Villages for Children and Help Hospitalized Veterans, and contained more than $9,000 in donations of personal checks or cash.
World Villages for Children provides food, care and education for needy children throughout the world. Help Hospitalized Veterans distributes therapeutic arts and crafts to patients receiving care at Department of Veterans Affairs centers and encourages volunteers and pen-pal relationships with hospitalized veterans.
As a mail processor, Hunter’s duties included sorting the mail, but did not include transporting or delivering mail to recipients or other postal facilities. When a U.S. Postal Service police officer questioned Hunter about the mail, she said that her supervisor authorized her to remove it from the facility. That was false; Hunter had no authorization to remove the mail.
“This mail processor tried to steal mail intended for charities that help needy children and hospitalized veterans,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “I commend the alert U.S. Postal Service officer who caught Ms. Hunter red-handed and who, along with the Office of Inspector General, ensured that the donations in these letters made it to their deserving recipients.”
“This is a situation that the Office of Inspector General takes very seriously,” said Special Agent in Charge Yarbrough. “Customers can be assured that the Office of Inspector General is responsive and will be continue to be responsive to employees who do not handle the mail properly. This occurrence is rare and the large majority of mail is handled as required by postal employees. This type of behavior by postal employees is taken very seriously by the Office of Inspector General and will continue to be investigated aggressively.”
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Special Agent in Charge Yarbrough praised the work of Special Agent Karma Knight of the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth Waxman and Bridget Fitzpatrick, who are prosecuting the case.