Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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Federal charges handed down to postal workers

Most people eagerly await the tax return that arrives in the mail. But thousands of Atlanta citizens over the last few years waited longer than they expected for their tax returns because someone else was cashing them. Two postal workers have been accused of federal crimes after allegedly plucking the federal tax returns out of the mail before delivery.

One employee was a mail handler, and the other was a branch supervisor. With help from other people, including employees at banks and other businesses, the pair reportedly stole over $3.5 million worth of tax return checks before being caught in the process of trying to transfer some of the stolen checks.

The couple were said to find bank employees who would help them cash the checks using fake IDs. Stolen checks were found in one of the postal worker's homes, and surveillance video reportedly showed the other postal worker sorting the tax checks out of the mail at the post office.

When accused of multiple federal crimes, like theft, tax fraud, and identity theft concurrently, the penalties and jail time at risk increase. The main four individuals involved in the tax return scheme were sentenced to between 2 and 7 years in prison with multiple years of supervised release ordered after their prison sentences.

Criminal law and sentencing guidelines are complex, especially at the federal level where concurrent charges are involved. Someone who has been arrested on federal charges should remember that an experienced attorney is an essential part of ensuring that the lowest charges and sentences are handed down. Even if the evidence looks damning, a skilled attorney will know how to handle a case in the most advantageous way possible.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Feds: Ex-postal workers stole $3.5M in tax, benefit checks," Christopher Seward, Feb. 28, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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