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Sept. 8, 2009


(MCALLEN, Texas) – United States Postal Service (USPS) contract employee Manuel Saldivar, 37, of La Feria, Texas, has pleaded guilty to one count of theft of mail matter, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Saldivar was a contract employee hired to deliver and collect mail from post offices located in and between La Feria, Texas, and the main distribution center in McAllen.

In open court before U.S. District Court Judge Randy Crane, Saldivar admitted to stealing gift cards from mail he collected since December 2008.

Saldivar was caught in an undercover operation conducted by inspectors with the USPS that was initiated after several complaints about missing gift cards. The operation ended on April 16, 2009. At that time, Saldivar was confronted by inspectors and found to be in possession of mail, including gift cards, which should have been delivered to the McAllen station, as well as several test (or dummy) pieces of mail placed in the mail stream as part of the undercover operation. As part of the plea agreement, Saldivar has agreed to pay restitution up to an estimated $1,500. 

The court scheduled sentencing for Nov. 30, 2009, and allowed Saldivar to remain on bond pending that hearing. Saldivar was originally granted bond by a magistrate judge on April 22, 2009, and had been released from custody since that time. 

On May 6, 2009, a four-count indictment was returned by a McAllen grand jury, charging Saldivar with stealing matters contained in U.S. Mail entrusted to the USPS for delivery for March and April of this year. Also, as part of the plea bargain agreement, the remaining counts of the indictment will be dismissed at the time of sentencing by the government.

Saldivar faces a maximum of five years in prison, a fine not to exceed $250,000 and one-year-term of supervise release. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Juan Alanis.



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