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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 28, 2016

Former Postal Carrier Pleads Guilty To Bribery

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Dennis Bernhard, 56, of Derby, N.Y., pleaded guilty to bribery before Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.  The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Wei Xiang, who is handling the case, stated that Bernhard was a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service for 16 years, working out of the Eastside Station Post Office for the last 10 years. The Eastside Station covers the east side of the City of Buffalo. The investigation began when law enforcement officials learned that Bernhard had previously been paid by drug dealers to provide addresses of unsuspecting citizens in the City of Buffalo in order to mail boxes of narcotics. These addresses were within the defendant’s mail delivery route, so that when the boxes arrived in Buffalo, Bernhard did not deliver the boxes to the listed recipient address, but held on to the boxes and handed them directly to the drug dealers in exchange for cash payments.

When police approached Bernhard during an undercover operation in 2015, the defendant indicated he was willing to continue the scheme. During one transaction, Bernhard even said that one of the prior drug dealers “treated me pretty good. . . . at the end he was giving me like a hundred. . . .” (referring to $100 per box).

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen, the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski, the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Monica Weyler, Eastern Area Field Office, Philadelphia, PA, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 18, 2016, at 11 a.m. before Judge Skretny.

Updated February 2, 2016