Postal Worker Sentenced for Stealing Mail
ALBUQUERQUE – This morning, Senior United States District Judge John E. Conway sentenced Albuquerque resident Andrew J. Barka, 47, to a six-month term of imprisonment based on his conviction for fraud and related activity in connection with authentication features and theft of mail. After completing his prison sentence, Barka will be on supervised release for five years. As a condition of his supervised release, Barka may not seek employment with the United States in any capacity and may not seek employment in any capacity that would give him access to clients’ personal or financial information. Judge Conway also ordered Barka to pay $1,966.35 in restitution.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Barka was an employee of the United States Postal Service (USPS) when he committed his crimes that led to his arrest and conviction. Barka was charged on January 28, 2010 in a five-count indictment alleging: Count 1, fraud and related activity in connection with authentication features; Count 2, aggravated identity theft; and Counts 3-5, theft of mail. Barka pleaded guilty to Counts 1, 3, 4 and 5 on May 14, 2010 under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.
Barka’s plea agreement details the circumstances leading to his arrest and conviction. It reveals that Barka began working for the USPS on June 10, 2006 as a letter carrier and became the letter carrier supervisor at the Academy Station on April 21, 2007. In that capacity, Barka had access to mail from all Academy routs and post office boxes. The agreement further reveals that, in May and July 2007, the Rio Rancho Police Department (RRPD) received anonymous letters reporting criminal activity involving stolen cars at Barka’s residence which was then in Rio Rancho. Subsequent investigation revealed that a BMW parked at Barka’s residence had been reported stolen. RRPD officers arrested Barka on August 27, 2007 while he was driving the stolen BMW. While executing a search warrant on the stolen BMW, the RRPD officers found U.S. mail and contacted Postal Inspectors for the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
According to the plea agreement, USPIS Inspectors recovered hundreds of pieces of U.S. mail from the stolen BMW and Barka’s Rio Rancho residence. The mail included credit and debit cards, credit and debit PIN number notifications, state vehicle registrations, 73 Netflix DVDs, 11 Blockbuster DVDs and more than 100 gift cards. The USPIS seized these items and delivered them to their rightful recipients. Barka was terminated from employment with the USPS on October 22, 2007.
This case was investigated by the USPIS with assistance from the RRPD, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul H. Spiers.