An Iowa postal worker who pleaded guilty to stealing cash from dozens of greeting cards will serve at least some time in jail after a judge rejected a plea agreement that would have seen her avoid incarceration. Here’s how the judge explained his decision in the case of Charmagne LaPoint, 38, of Des Moines,:
In the agreement, LaPoint stipulated to stealing approximately 40 pieces of mail in 2013 while working as a Post Master Relief in Wesley, Iowa. She targeted mail that appeared to contain greeting cards and would steal any cash enclosed with the cards. LaPoint would then rip up the cards and throw them away at the post office or her home. In addition to cash, LaPoint stole six gift cards and a laptop computer from the mail. All told, LaPoint admitted to stealing money and property worth $1,294.95 and agreed to pay that amount in restitution.
The plea agreement does not tell the whole story, however. A statement from one of LaPoint’s victims, an intended card recipient, reveals significant non-monetary harm caused by LaPoint’s crime. The victim never received sympathy cards regarding her father, and could not thank those who sent their condolences, because LaPoint had torn the cards up. Because of LaPoint, the victim lost trust in the Postal Service, stopped mailing packages to her son in the military, and began traveling to neighboring cities to drop off her mail. Moreover, while the record contains only one victim impact statement, the record supports the fact that LaPoint deprived other victims—the other intended card recipients—of the support, condolences, and congratulations offered in the myriad types
of greeting cards that LaPoint destroyed.
This week the judge approved a modified plea agreement that will see LaPoint spend 10 consecutive weekends in prison, in addition to a year’s probation and restitution.