A man from Louisiana was thrown into jail this week for allegedly paralyzing the federal government from more than half a million dollars. Authorities said it was one of the largest in robberies ever committed at the U.S. Postal Service.
Ryan Cortez, 46, of Des Allemands, was arrested Wednesday at the North Kenner Post Office, where he serves as a customer service manager, according to the American Attorney Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
A criminal complaint filed with the District Court of the US district claims that Cortez stole about $ 630,000 in stamps in the United States and sold them on eBay at discounted prices. He did so, the authorities said, to support a gambling addiction.
An investigation into Cortez was launched earlier this year when PayPal and eBay federal authorities reported that they had sold "significant quantities" of stamps, authorities said. In at least one case 10,000 stamps with a face value of 50 cents each would have been sold for 38 cents according to the complaint.
"Another investigation … revealed that, as manager, Cortez de [North Kenner] The stock postage stamps from the post office with more than $ 600,000, "wrote the law firm of the United States in a Wednesday press release.
Researchers sued Cortez's bank records, which would show that he made significant deposits, including more than $ 58,000 between July and August.
From financial data, it would also have emerged that Cortez regularly included cash machines at Harrah's Casino in New Orleans. Authorities said it was determined that he had gambled since 2011 and lost more than $ 667,000.
Cortez last year's losses, according to the complaint, amount to more than $ 220,000, which is more than three times his $ PostalA salary of $ 70,818. Louisiana Workforce Records from the Commission indicate that Cortez had no other source of income.
On Wednesday, federal authorities issued a search warrant at Cortez's home. They claim to have found evidence for the thefts, including documents and packaging materials used by the Post Office Distribution Office.
The authorities questioned Cortez that same day. During the interview he allegedly admitted that he had stolen and sold stamps.
"When asked to estimate the dollar amount of stolen stamps, Cortez replied:" Hundreds of thousands, "said the complaint.
Cortez would have told researchers that he was using money from selling the stamps to support his gambling habit.
The criminal complaint further claims that Cortez admitted that he was eclipsing more than $ 9,000 from the Des Allemands Baptist Church in Des Allemands. Business documents kept by the Secretary of State for Louisiana apparently identify Cortez as the treasurer of the Church.
It was unclear from Friday whether the government had initiated an investigation into the alleged theft of church money.
In 2012, advice and security company Marquet International Ltd. the results of a five-year study in which 528 cases of embezzlement were investigated. The study showed that "gambling is a clear motivating factor in driving some important cases of embezzlement".
Cortez, who is accused of misappropriating postal funds or property, appeared Wednesday before the American magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles III. The judge ordered him to be detained and to return him to the US Marshals Service, WWL-TV reported in New Orleans.
The law firm in the United States said that "illegal activities are one of the largest internal mail theft by a postal service employee in the history of the U.S. Postal Service."
If he is convicted, Cortez will be sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine.
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