Mail Carrier Pleads Guilty to Stealing Mail from Independence MO Residents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a mail carrier pleaded guilty in federal court today to stealing gift cards and checks from postal customers in Independence, Mo.

Audrey S. Odell, 34, of Blue Springs, Mo., waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District judge Brian C. Wimes to a federal information that charges her with the theft of mail by a postal employee.

Odell was employed as a mail carrier on routes in Independence. By pleading guilty today, Odell admitted that she stole approximately 150 gift cards and 150 checks from the mail, with an estimated loss of $2,500 from approximately 75 postal customers.

In December 2015, the U.S. Postal Service received complaints regarding mail and possible mail theft occurring on Odell’s routes. In January 2017, postal inspectors placed in the mail test pieces with gift cards addressed to fictitious addresses. Odell was assigned to deliver those pieces of mail. The mail should have been returned to the post-station as not deliverable. On Feb. 8, 2017, postal inspectors prepared three additional test pieces for the route assigned to Odell on that day. Later that day, agents from the U.S. Postal Service-Office of the Inspector General approached Odell in the parking lot and searched her vehicle. The agents found several pieces of mail, including the test mailings.

Under federal statutes, Odell is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul S. Becker. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.