Feds: Berwyn Mailman Stole Charity Donations
Former mail carrier swiped nearly $275,00 worth of donations mailed to a local charity, authorities say.
A former U.S. Postal Service mail carrier whose route took him through Berwyn for more than a decade pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to possession of stolen mail.
But authorities say Frederick L. Taylor, 41, wasn't pocketing magazines and catalogs. He was taking envelopes — 29,403 envelopes — containing cash, checks, credit cards payments and money orders all destined for a charity in Berwyn.
Together, the stolen donations totaled $275,000 and were sent by about 25,000 people, authorities said.
Taylor, of Chicago, had been assigned a route in Berwyn from 1999 to 2011. Authorities said Taylor didn't begin the thefts until August 2010, when he began opening envelopes destined for an unidentified Berwyn-based charity and stealing the contents.
The ruse came crashing down on Aug. 11, 2011, when he was found with several pieces of first-class mail containing $100 bills and about 30 donation envelopes, all of which were to be delivered to the charity. That same day, investigators found at Taylor's home nearly 29,500 donation envelopes indicating they'd contained cash, credit card payments and money orders.
On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to one felony count of possessing stolen mail, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“It’s unfortunate that a postal employee would consider stealing mail from anyone, let alone a charitable organization,” said Scott Caspell, a special agent in the Chicago office of the U.S. Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General. “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."