Post office manager sentenced in Louisiana stolen stamps case
By Linn’s staff
A post office manager in Louisiana has been sentenced after confessing to stealing stamps worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from the post office and selling them on eBay.
Ryan S. Cortez, age 47, was the manager of customer service operations at the North Kenner post office in Louisiana.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, records revealed that Cortez stole more than $630,000 in United States stamps and sold them online.
Postal authorities referred to it as one of the largest internal postal thefts by an employee in the history of the U.S. Postal Service, according to government prosecutors.
The USPS Office of Inspector General was tipped off by the PayPal payment service that Cortez was selling large amounts of U.S. stamps on the eBay online commerce platform.
In an affidavit filed last October, a special agent for the Office of Inspector General noted that “PayPal records show a pattern of unusual sales activity consistent with sales of stolen postage extending back to 2011.”
The agent noted that records at the Harrah’s casino in New Orleans dating back to 2011 revealed Cortez had incurred a net loss of $667,522.
“Cortez informed agents he is addicted to gambling and the money he obtained from the illegal sale of stamps has been used to support his gambling addiction,” according to the affidavit.
Cortez told inspectors the stamps were sold mainly to two buyers: one in Billings, Mont., and the other in Chatham, N.J.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Cortez admitted manipulating stamp stock counts by using another supervisor’s password to access the computer system. He was charged with misappropriation of postal funds and entered a plea of guilty on Feb. 22.
Cortez was sentenced May 30 in U.S. District Court to 30 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $856,801.41 in restitution.
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