USPS Just Had One of Its Biggest Inside Thefts Ever

It involves more than $630K worth of stamps
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2018 11:17 AM CDT
In this Feb. 21, 2007, photo, "Forever" postage stamps are printed in Williamsville, NY.   (AP Photo/US Postal Service, Daniel Afzal)

(Newser) – A Louisiana man who makes about $70,000 a year lost more than $650,000 gambling over the past seven years, casino records show—and federal prosecutors now say they know how he got the money to support his habit, the Times-Picayune reports. The DOJ is calling it "one of the largest internal Postal [thefts] by a Postal Service employee in the history of the US Postal Service," and it involves 46-year-old Ryan Cortez and what prosecutors say was a massive theft of stamps—more than $630,000 worth—from the Kenner post office where he works. Cortez was arrested Wednesday and charged with misappropriation of postal funds or property.

The criminal complaint against Cortez says he admitted to stealing the stamps, then hawking them on eBay. USPS investigators got wind of the alleged scheme when both eBay and PayPal notified them of "significant quantities" of stamps being sold on the former's site. Agents then discovered Cortez "had a very active presence" at casinos, and records from Harrah's show Cortez had lost upward of $667,000 since 2011—more than $220,000 of it last year alone. The complaint also notes he admitted to embezzling thousands of dollars from the local church where he served as treasurer.

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