Rhode Island postal worker charged with stealing cash from greeting cards

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.

  • Sally Puleo

    My mother who is 84 is still waiting for her birthday card which was sent from California about October 3. There was a check from my uncle, Marty Dark, in the card, and I was just wondering if there was any way to find out if it was one of the envelopes confiscated and opened by Mr. Hart. My uncle is very stressed over the fact that the check is out there somewhere and that his sister hasn’t received it. You can reach me at 401-368-8868 if you have any information that I could pass on to my uncle.

  • Postal worker

    Sally let me just say I am sorry to hear about the lost check. Most postal workers are kind decent people who would never think to take what doesn’t belong to them. I believe the gentlemen in question just took cash. Both checks and even gift cards can be traced so I doubt he took it. It does not mean that your card wasn’t possibly opened by him and because of that it got lost in the mail stream. Your best bet would be to do a stop payment. I will however ask a supervisor tommorrow what they did with the confiscated envelopes.

  • Shimone

    I am delighted to know that they are inspectors who are truly looking into mail thefts! I sent out a Priority letter on 10/03/11 here in Louisiana and as of today it hasn’t reached it destination! Delivery confirmation never confirmed delivery only that it was processed in USPS sort facility in Baton Rouge at 11:40p. It’s upsetting that no one has answers or just delivers my letter! I feel violated and I’m so hurt…as a single mother with no help I reached out to help a loved one with my last because I knew I would get it back,it’s gone;damn shame!!!