Madison, Wis. – John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Belinda Chizek, 47, Prentice, Wis., was sentenced February 14 by U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to two years of probation and fined $3,000 for felony mail theft of $500. Chizek pleaded guilty to this charge on December 15, 2016, in U.S. District Court in Madison.
Chizek admitted that she stole cash from mail that she had been assigned to deliver on her two rural routes in Phillips, Wis., in February and March 2016. After being caught stealing $20 from a test mailing, Chizek confessed to postal inspectors. She told the inspectors she stole cash from the mail to pay her bills because her family bait shop business was not doing well. Chizek estimated she opened over 100 pieces of mail and stole about $500 in cash in February to March 2016.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Peterson admonished Chizek, telling her, “This was a crime with very serious consequences, you violated public confidence in the mail system.” Judge Peterson told Chizek “You stole money from people and violated their privacy by opening their mail.”
In addition to the $3,000 fine, Judge Peterson ordered Chizek to pay $125 in restitution to her victims.
The charges against Chizek were the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case has been prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber.