Illinois letter carrier pleads guilty in theft of 29,400 pieces of mail containing charity donations

CHICAGO — A former U.S. Postal Service mail carrier once assigned to a route in west suburban Berwyn pleaded guilty today to possession of stolen mail, admitting that he stole more than 29,400 pieces of first class mail that were intended for delivery to a charity on his route and contained more than $275,000 in donations. The defendant, Frederick L. Taylor, admitted that in August 2011 he possessed at least 29,403 donation envelopes in his residence in Chicago that contained or had contained cash, checks, credit card payments, and money orders intended for unnamed Charity A from approximately 25,000 different donors.

Taylor, 41, of Chicago, who was assigned to the Berwyn Post Office between March 1999 and Aug. 8, 2011, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possessing stolen mail at his arraignment in Federal Court after he was charged in a criminal information filed last week. U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve scheduled sentencing for Nov. 19, 2012.
Taylor faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Under the terms of a written plea agreement, the Government anticipates an advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines range of 46 to 57 months in prison, while Taylor is free to argue for an advisory guideline range of 6 to 12 months.

The guilty plea was announced by Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Scott Caspell, Executive Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

“It’s unfortunate that a postal employee would consider stealing mail from anyone, let alone a charitable organization,” Mr. Caspell said. “The vast majority of postal employees are honest, hard working public servants whose daily efforts instill trust in America’s postal system. But when a postal employee or contractor makes the wrong decision to steal mail and/or its contents, it is our job to investigate those who violate this trust. These crimes have serious consequences and receive priority investigative attention by Special Agents of the Office of Inspector General. The message needs to be clear — postal employees who steal or abandon mail, will be throwing away their postal career and face criminal prosecution, Mr. Caspall said.

According to the plea agreement, between approximately August 2010 and Aug. 8, 2011, Taylor stole mail addressed to Charity A in Berwyn. At times, after finding mail addressed to Charity A, Taylor would open the mail inside his postal vehicle and steal the contents. Other times, he opted not to open or deliver Charity A mail and instead kept the envelopes inside his mail satchel. He would then place the satchel in his personal vehicle and later open the mail at his home. On Aug. 11, 2011, Taylor was found to possess several pieces of first class mail containing approximately $100 cash intended for Charity A, as well as at least 30 additional donation envelopes that were intended for delivery on that day.

On the same day, at Taylor’s home, investigators discovered approximately 29,400 donation envelopes that indicated they had contained approximately $17,741 in cash, and contained $250,346 in checks, $6,143 in credit card payments, and $1,681 in money orders, all of which represented donations intended for Charity A from approximately 25,000 different donors.

The government is being represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Rotter.