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Former postmaster pleads guilty to stealing postal service funds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2013

BUFFALO, N.Y.—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Michael Kozina, 57, of Eden, N.Y., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio, to misappropriation of postal funds by a postal service employee. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both. 

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, Jr., who handled the case, stated that Kozina was employed as Postmaster at the Lawtons, N.Y. post office between April 2, 2005 and July 31, 2012. As the Postmaster, the defendant accepted cash payments from more than 12 United States Postal Service customers for the purchase of money orders. Instead of depositing the cash payments into the USPS register, Kozina kept a portion of the cash for his own purposes. The defendant then falsified USPS records to make it appear that customers purchased money orders in an amount which was significantly less than what was actually paid.  As a result, losses to the USPS totaled $13,760.75. In addition, Kozina also stole $13,585 in post office box rental payments between January 1, 2009 and July 31, 2012.       

            “As the past public corruption cases brought by this Office demonstrate, no person is above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “As head of a Post Office branch, this defendant served in a position of trust to both the Government and the public. This Office will not permit a representative or employee of any level of Government to misuse their position for personal gain.” 

            The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-In-Charge Robert Lapina.

            Sentencing will be scheduled before Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny.

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