Seven postal workers charged in mail theft ring at Providence Post Office

Gift cards, cash and checks were stolen from the mail in southern New England.

Federal authorities are accusing seven postal workers in Providence of running a massive, long-running mail theft ring.

Investigators don't know how much was stolen from the mail at the Providence Postal Processing and Distribution Center on Corliss Street, but they do know that hundreds were spent on personal items and that they found a cash register filled with checks worth more than $1 million. The backpack was snatched.

“This was huge,” Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Zachary Cunha said in announcing the bust on Wednesday.

The investigation is one year old.

“These thefts were not isolated incidents. “Surveillance conducted during the investigation showed multiple members of the conspiracy taking stolen mail out of the facility on any given day, separating it and then smuggling it,” Cunha said.

Investigators claim the accused employees would separate mail they suspected contained money or checks, put the mail in a backpack on their way out of the postal facility, and distribute it after work Were.

Authorities said the accused employees targeted greeting cards around Christmas time and made off with cash and gift cards.

Of the checks he is accused of taking, Cunha said, “I think if you look at a backpack, one day, $1.3 million, and you estimate the extras, you can probably come up with some figures on your own. Are.”

The workers charged are supervisors Cyril Murray, Ryan Lee, Angel Rivera, Andre Williams, Willie Estrella, Darren Camacho and his cousin Fernando Camacho, who investigators said stole gifts from stores last year. Tracked using the card.

Camacho responded “no comment” to questions from the NBC 10 I-Team about the allegations outside federal court in Providence following his initial appearance on the charges Wednesday afternoon.

The six accused employees appeared in court on Wednesday and were released on bond.

Lee was charged earlier this month.

NBC 10 reported the existence of the investigation in March, when local businesses received letters from postal inspectors stating that checks meant for the businesses were found in the possession of a postal employee.

Asked whether the Providence Postal Processing Center had made any changes in the wake of the theft, Matthew Modafferi, a special agent in charge of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, said, “From what we've seen, the complaints that have come in. “There has been a dramatic reduction because we have found that these individuals are no longer handling mail or working.”

When the investigation came to light, the accused employees either left their jobs or were removed.

Cunha said everyone needs to be careful when sending valuables in the mail, advising them not to send cash.

The U.S. Postal Service said suspected mail theft can be reported by calling 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644), filing an online report, or sending an email to hotline@uspsoig,gov .

Written complaints can be mailed to USPS OIG, Attention: OIG Hotline, 1735 North Linn St., Arlington, VA 22209-2020.

The TTY number is 1-866-OIG-TEXT (1-866-644-8398).

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