Former USPS Employee Guilty of Stealing Cash, Gift Cards From Mail

A former employee for the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been sentenced for stealing cash and gift cards from in-transit greeting cards.

Because the USPS is a federal agency, mail theft of any kind is considered a felony, regardless of the monetary value of the stolen item. The law also applies to those employed by the postal service, as workers are forbidden from removing or tampering with anything inside a piece of mail.

In either case, if convicted, mail theft can result in a maximum prison sentence of five years, along with a fine.

According to a Tuesday news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Southern District of Illinois, 31-year-old Casey L. Neal of Belle Rive, Illinois, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to stealing gift cards and cash from pieces of mail.

Neal had been working as a substitute sales and distribution clerk at three different USPS locations—Belle Rive, Dahlgren and Macedonia—at the time of the offenses, which took place throughout January and February 2021.

In total, the now-former employee stole $300 worth of cash and gift cards, which she took from greeting cards that passed through the three post offices.

Neal would use the prepaid gift cards stolen from packages to buy money orders. She then used those to "to pay her personal creditors," said the U.S. Attorney's Office.

According to media reports, Neal specifically used stolen Vanilla Visa gift cards to complete these transactions.

Investigators learned of the theft and soon found gift cards for other retailers and companies 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 one more prepaid Vanilla Visa card.

After pleading guilty, Neal was sentenced to two years' probation in the Southern District of Illinois. She is also required to pay a $220 restitution to her victims.

The USPS has made headlines over the past several days, as the agency prepares to send a total of 500 million at-home COVID-19 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 critical role in supporting the health needs of the American public," said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in a recent statement.

He added: "We have been working closely with the administration and are well prepared to accept and deliver test kits on the first day the program launches."

On Tuesday, it was announced that a former USPS employee was sentenced for stealing cash and gift cards from in-transit mail. Gradivis/iStock / Getty Images Plus