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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Former Postal Inspector Pleads Guilty to Possession of Stolen Mail and Marijuana Trafficking

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A supervisory postal inspector working at the San Jose Processing and Distribution Center pleaded guilty today to possession of stolen U.S. mail and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

On June 26, 2014, following an investigation and the execution of a search warrant at his house and office, Quan Pham Howard, 53, of Saratoga, California, was arrested and charged with theft of mail.

According to his plea agreement, Howard admitted that between late 2010 and June 25, 2014, he unlawfully opened and stole United States mail containing , among other things, quantities of prescription drugs. Further, he admitted possessing a variety of items that had been stolen from the mail distribution center including: a gun scope, a silver bar, jewelry, coins, gift cards, a gun silencer, a Rolex watch and other items. Howard is also charged with possessing over eight kilograms of marijuana with the intent to distribute. During this period, to conceal his theft and trafficking, Howard falsified postal records and disabled a surveillance camera at the distribution center.

Howard also admitted that he attempted to obstruct justice when he became aware of the investigation. On July 2, 2014, Howard contacted a former USPS employee whom he had supervised and attempted to influence the employee’s testimony with instructions regarding what to remember about Howard's prior supervision. In addition, Howard repeatedly contacted one of his former supervisors at the San Jose Postal Inspection Service Office, attempting to get her to support his false explanation for his possession of stolen property.

U.S. Attorney Wagner stated: “When those who are supposed to enforce the law exploit it, they go beyond merely violating the law and damage the trust between law enforcement and the communities we are sworn to protect. We will continue our efforts to nurture that trust by working with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate and prosecute such cases.”

U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Special Inquiries Division, Area Special Agent in Charge Curtis Lembke stated: “This criminal behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated. The overwhelming majority of Postal Service employees who serve the public are honest, hardworking, and trustworthy individuals who would never consider engaging in any type of criminal behavior.”

This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General. Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rodriguez, of the Eastern District of California, is prosecuting the case. Because his role as a postal inspector involved Howard in the investigation of cases in the Northern District of California, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District was recused from this case, which is proceeding in the United States District Court in San Jose.

Howard is scheduled to be sentenced on November 18, 2015, by United States District Judge Lucy H. Koh. Howard faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 
5:14-cr-390 NDCA
Updated July 22, 2015