Postal Notes: Stealing, Crashing, Groping and Other USPS News

By Eric Katz

August 29, 2013

Postal Notes is an occasional feature showcasing new, unusual and sometimes inspiring occurrences in the world of the U.S. Postal Service.

Supplemental Income

File fake tax returns. Use homes on mail route for return addresses. Intercept mail, cash checks. The perfect crime.

That’s what Miguel Duran thought, before he was sentenced to three years in prison. Duran admitted to assisting other men steal more than $390,000 by filing fraudulent state and federal tax returns. He never delivered the mail, of course; Duran took the checks and gave them to the men to disburse in various bank accounts.

Meanwhile, a postmaster in Minnesota has pleaded guilty to a simpler on-the-job scam.

Jill Marie Rousse stole money by taking cash out of her drawer and issuing money orders in her own name. Rousse falsified reports to show the sale of money orders and stamps to account for the missing funds. She faces up to 10 years in prison.

Read more about the tax return scheme on NJ.com, and the cash theft from the Justice Department.

Watch Out!

A postal customer in St. Louis, Mo., was really eager to get her mail.

So eager, in fact, the customer drove right into the post office. Two people were injured after the vehicle collided with the building. The motorist drove directly into a woman collecting her mail, according to an eye witness. That woman was treated for leg injuries.

All mail was temporarily rerouted to another post office. Check out more details from KSDK.

On a Serious (Postal) Note…

USPS and the National Association of Letter Carriers -- a union that represents 280,000 members, about two-thirds of whom are active postal employees -- reached a collective bargaining agreement through a third-party arbitrator back in January.

On Thursday, the agreement was finalized.

The agreement, as arbitrated by Shyam Das, a member of the American Arbitration Association, provides a 3.5 percent pay raise over the next three years but drops USPS’ health care contribution from 80 percent to 78 percent.

Read the full agreement from NALC.

Multi-Purpose

A post office in Astoria, Ore., is now closed at night after homeless people began sleeping in it.

The building was previously open 24 hours a day, allowing customers to access mail and P.O. boxes. Local police officers were forbidden from clearing out the post office, as the building is considered federal property.

A Postal Service spokesman said the “transients” were quite messy. The Daily Astorian has more.

Fee for Service

A St. Johnsbury, Vt., resident has accused a former postal worker of acting inappropriately after asking for her mail early.

A postal customer told state police she told Douglas H. McGown she needed to get a check from his truck before her bank closed. McGown said he would need her help to dig around in the back of his truck, to which the customer expressed concern over legal issues with the offer.

“There’s a lot of things we could do to get in trouble,” McGown allegedly said.

The woman accused McGown of then retrieving her mail and handing it to her, while squeezing her right breast. McGrown has told authorities he didn’t think it was a “big deal.”

Get the full details from VTDigger.org.

Postal Worker Remembered as Civil Rights Hero

Victor Green was a letter carrier for 44 years.

He is best known, however, for writing The Green Book, a travel guide started in 1936 that listed safe and convenient places for African-Americans to travel, hotels to stay in and restaurants to eat at. Green, himself a member of the NALC, found steady employment at USPS at a time when it when few employers were offering that opportunity to the nation’s black community.

Read more about Green and his career at the Postal service on The Washington Post.

(Image via Flickr user shindotv)


By Eric Katz

August 29, 2013

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2013/08/postal-notes-stealing-crashing-groping-and-other-usps-news/69635/