The following information was released by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island:
A United States Postal Service employee was charged Thursday in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., with allegedly stealing cash from greeting cards sent through the mail as they were being processed at the United States Postal Service’s Processing and Distribution Center in Providence.
Robert J. Hart, Jr., 49, of Cranston, R.I., charged with theft of mail by an employee of the United States Postal Service, was released on $10,000 unsecured bond after an initial appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond.
The arrest of Hart was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Jane Hughes, Special Agent in Charge of the northeast area United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG).
According to an Affidavit in support of a criminal complaint and arrest warrant, it is alleged that on September 26, 2011, an investigator from the USPS OIG recovered 106 pieces of rifled mail that had been processed at the Providence Processing and Distribution Center on September 24 and 25, 2011. All of the rifled mail was first class greeting cards mailed from outside of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The mail had allegedly been slit open cleanly along the top seam and cash allegedly removed from cards which had the hinge of the greeting card face down. Cash was not removed from some of the opened cards which had the hinge facing up.
The Affidavit alleges that on October 11, 2011, agents from the USPS OIG recovered 97 rifled first class greeting cards processed between October 1 and October 10, 2011. None of the recovered mail which had the hinge facing down contained cash.
According to the court document, on October 12, 2011, USPS OIG agents placed two pieces of mail which contained greeting cards with marked $20 bills in processing trays to be handled by Hart and conducted surveillance of Hart’s actions. Hart’s actions allegedly included the removal of a cutting instrument from his pocket as he processed the mail. The greeting cards placed by agents for processing by Hart were allegedly slit open and the marked $20 bills allegedly removed. Hart was confronted by the agents and the marked $20 bills were allegedly located in Hart’s pocket.
A Criminal Complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted of theft of mail by an employee of the United States Postal Service, Hart faces up to 5 years in federal prison; 3 years supervised release; and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Rogers.