Albany Postal Worker Indicted for Mail Theft

ALBANY, NEW YORK – John R. Elbayeh, aka Jean Elbayeh, age 43, of Albany, was arraigned today on an indictment charging him with stealing iPhones and other valuable items from mailed packages.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Matthew Modafferi, Special Agent in Charge of the Northeast Area for the United States Postal Service (USPS), Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Elbayeh worked as a lead mail processing clerk at the USPS Processing and Distribution Center in Albany, according to a criminal complaint also filed in the case. For approximately 2 years ending in December 2018, he stole valuable items from the mail, including iPhones, other phones, cash, coins, and jewelry, according to the complaint and indictment.

The charges in the indictment and complaint are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Shortly after being interviewed by federal agents in December 2018, Elbayeh took a one-way flight to Beirut, Lebanon, and remained outside the United States until October 17, 2019. On that date, USPS-OIG Agents arrested him at Dulles International Airport, where Elbayeh had just arrived from a flight originating in Cairo, Egypt.

Elbayeh was arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart, who ordered him detained pending trial.

If convicted, Elbayeh faces up to 5 years in prison. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

This case is being investigated by the USPS Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.