CLEVELAND – A postal worker and a man she lived with were indicted for conspiracy after they allegedly stole $47,000 worth of gift cards from the mail.
Jennifer Riccardi, 46, worked at the main mail processing center in Cleveland, according to the Department of Justice. She allegedly stole greeting cards, letters and other pieces of mail that she believed contained gift cards.
Officials said Riccardi would hide the stolen pieces of mail and take them to the residence she shared with Joseph Dennis, 37, during her mid-shift break or at the end of her shift.
Dennis and Riccardi are accused of selling at least 41 stolen gift cards and using stolen gift cards to make purchases from Amazon, Kohl's, Starbucks and other stores.
The Department of Justice said in a press release, "On December 11, 2017, Dennis and Riccardi possessed at their residence at least 108 pieces of stolen mail, $42,000 in cash, an automatic currency counter and 1,505 stolen gifts cards from approximately 230 merchants or vendors. Of those, 1,322 of the gift cards bore face values, which totaled approximately $47,000."
In one night alone, Riccardi is accused of stealing more than 100 apparent greeting cards. Among the stolen mail that was opened was a card from a mother to her daughter signed “Love you! Mom” and a card from an uncle and aunt wishing a “Happy 1st Birthday.”
The conspiracy reportedly took place between December 2016 and December 11, 2017.
Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said both Riccardi and Dennis were indicted on charges including conspiracy to commit theft of mail and possession of stolen mail, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, possession of stolen mail and access device fraud.
Riccardi was also charged with theft of mail by a postal employee.
“This defendant is accused of stealing more than a thousand gift cards worth tens thousands of dollars, including birthday presents or other gifts people entrusted to the postal service for delivery to their family and loved ones," said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. "Those who steal mail will be held accountable for their actions, just like any other criminal."
Meanwhile, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Kenneth F. Cleevely, Eastern Area Field Office, released the following statement:
"The vast majority of the 500,000 postal employees nationwide are hard-working, trust worthy individuals. However, when one of those employees choose to violate that trust and steal from the mail for personal gain, special agents with the USPS OIG will vigorously investigate and pursue federal prosecution when appropriate. When postal employees choose to steal from the mail, they risk their career, benefits, retirement, and possibly their freedom. To report theft of mail, or other postal employee crimes, contact special agents at www.uspsoig.gov or 888-USPS-OIG."