Louisiana Postal Worker Stole Over $600K in Stamps to Fund Gambling
A Louisiana postal worker was arrested on Wednesday (October 10) after being accused of stealing over $600,000 worth of stamps and selling them on eBay in order to fund his gambling addiction.
Ryan S. Cortez, the manager of customer service operations at the North Kenner Post Office in Kenner, Louisiana, has been charged with misappropriation of postal funds or property.
Authorities launched an investigation after PayPal and eBay notified Postal agents that Cortez had been selling “significant quantities” of stamps online. They discovered that Cortex had increased his post office’s stamp orders by more than $600,000.
Police also discovered that Cortez, despite having an annual salary of $70,000, had lost a large sum of money at Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. The 46-year-old lost $220,000 in 2017 and, in total, had lost more than $667,000 since 2011.
Authorities executed a federal search warrant on Wednesday morning at Cortez’s home where they found evidence including documents and packing materials used by the Postal Service’s stamp-distribution office, Nola reports.
He was arrested shortly after.
A Major Crime
According to a press release from Attorney Peter G. Strasser describes Cortez’s crime as “one of the largest internal Postal (thefts) by a Postal Service employee in the history of the US Postal Service.”
A criminal complaint against Cortez revealed that the 46-year-old had admitted to stealing stamps and selling them on eBay to support his gambling addiction.
The complaint also alleged that Cortez had admitted to embezzling thousands of dollars from the Des Allemands Mennonite Church in Des Allemands, Louisiana, where Cortez served as treasurer in Louisiana Secretary of State business filing records.
If convicted, the 46-year-old faces up to 10 years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine.