Need some extra cash? Don’t steal it from the Postal Service! In February 2011, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) received data from a major banking corporation regarding daily deposits made by a number of postal retail units. The data contained a detailed breakdown of the amount of cash and checks deposited for postal retail units in 21 postal districts. OIG special agents became suspicious of an embezzlement scheme as they compared the deposit details received from the bank to the deposit details available in the Postal Service’s point of service (POS) system. The POS system is where postal sales transactions are processed.

The investigation determined that a sales and service associate (SSA) manipulated the POS system by deliberately entering erroneous checks provided by two business customers for bulk mailings. The SSA entered the checks into the POS system for amounts less than their face value, thereby not accounting for the additional funds as revenue for the Postal Service. She would then take the difference between the reported amount and the actual cash value while completing the final deposits. The SSA also admitted to embezzling funds by failing to report cash stamp sales or voiding cash stamp sales after the transactions were complete.

As a result of the OIG investigation, postal management removed the SSA from employment. She pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of Misappropriation of Postal Funds. On June 11, 2013, a federal judge sentenced the SSA to 18 months in prison and ordered restitution to the Postal Service in the amount of $135,000.