Investigators say 7 postal workers accused of stealing mail from Providence post office – Turn to 10

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Gift cards, cash, and checks, stolen out of the mail in Southern New England.

Federal authorities are charging seven postal workers in Providence with running a massive, long-running mail theft ring.

Investigators don’t know how much was stolen out of the mail at the Providence Postal Processing and Distribution Center on Corliss Street, but they know hundreds was spent on personal items and they snagged a backpack full of checks worth more than $1 million.

“It was massive,” U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Zachary Cunha said Wednesday announcing the bust.

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The investigation goes back a year.

“These thefts were not isolated occurrences. Surveillance conducted during the investigation showed multiple members of the conspiracy taking, setting aside and then smuggling stolen mail out of the facility on any given day,” Cunha said.

Investigators claim the accused workers would separate out mail they suspected had money or checks, put that mail in backpacks to sneak out of the postal facility, and split it up after work.

Authorities said the accused workers targeted greeting cards around Christmas time and took out cash and gift cards.

As for the checks they’re accused of taking, Cunha said, “I think if you look at one backpack, one day, $1.3 million, and you extrapolate out, you can probably come up with some figures on your own.”

The workers charged are supervisor Cyril Murray, Ryan Lee, Angel Rivera, Andre Williams, Wilie Estrella, Darren Camacho, and his cousin Fernando Camacho, who investigators said they tracked last year using stolen gifts cards at stores.

Camacho, outside federal court in Providence following his initial appearance on the charges Wednesday afternoon, answered “no comment” to questions from the NBC 10 I-Team about the accusations.

Six of the accused workers had court appearances Wednesday and were released on bond.

Lee was charged earlier this month.

NBC 10 reported the existence of the investigation in March, when local business received letters from postal inspectors stating checks meant for the businesses were found in the possession of a postal worker.

Asked if the Providence Postal Processing Center has made any changes in the wake of the theft, Matthew Modafferi, special agent for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, said, “From what we’ve seen, the complaints that have come in have dramatically decreased since we’ve had these individuals are no longer operating or working with the mail.”

The accused workers had either left their jobs or were removed as the investigation unfolded.

Cunha said everyone needs to be cautious sending valuables in the mail, advising they not send cash.

The U.S. Postal Service said suspected mail theft can be reported by calling 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644), by filing a report online, or by sending an email to hotline@uspsoig,gov.

Written complaints can be mailed to USPS OIG, Attn: OIG Hotline, 1735 North Lynn St., Arlington, VA 22209-2020.

The TTY number is 1-866-OIG-TEXT (1-866-644-8398).

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