Former USPS employee guilty of stealing cash and gift cards in the mail
A former United States Postal Service (USPS) employee has been convicted of stealing cash and gift cards from greeting cards in transit.
Because the USPS is a federal agency, mail theft of any kind is considered a crime, regardless of the monetary value of the item stolen. The law also applies to people employed by the Postal Service, as workers are prohibited from removing or altering anything inside a mail piece.
In either case, if convicted, mail theft can result in a maximum prison sentence of five years, plus a fine.
According to a press release issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice, Southern District of Illinois, Casey L. Neal, 31, of Belle Rive, Illinois, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to stealing gift cards and money in couriers.
Neal was working as an assistant sales and distribution clerk at three different USPS locations — Belle Rive, Dahlgren, and Macedonia — at the time of the violations, which took place in January and February 2021.
In total, the former employee stole $300 in cash and gift cards, which she took from greeting cards passing through the three post offices.
Neal was using the prepaid gift cards stolen from the packages to buy money orders. She then used them to “pay her personal creditors,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
According to media reports, Neal specifically used stolen Vanilla Visa gift cards to complete these transactions.
Investigators learned of the theft and quickly found gift cards for other retailers and businesses in her possession. Authorities discovered a total of eight stolen cards, including one for Dick’s Sporting Goods, four for Dairy Queen, two for Chick-fil-A and another Vanilla Visa prepaid card.
After pleading guilty, Neal was sentenced to two years probation in the Southern District of Illinois. She is also required to pay compensation of $220 to her victims.
The USPS has been in the news for the past few days as the agency prepares to send a total of 500 million COVID-19 home test kits to households across the country. Each U.S. residence is eligible to receive four tests at no cost.
“The 650,000 women and men of the United States Postal Service are ready to deliver and proud to play a vital role in meeting the health needs of the American public,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a recent statement.
He added: “We have worked closely with the administration and are well prepared to accept and deliver test kits on day one of the program launch.”