A Post Office manager of customer service operations in Louisiana was arrested this week on charges that he stole and then sold stamps to pay for his gambling habits.
According to an announcement from the Justice Department, Ryan S. Cortez, 46, of Des Allemands, Louisiana was arrested by special agents with the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General for Misappropriation of Postal Funds or Property.
According to a criminal complaint affidavit filed in federal court, Postal OIG agents were notified by PayPal and eBay regarding significant quantities of U.S. Postal stamps being sold by Cortez on eBay.
A subsequent investigation by Postal OIG revealed that, as manager, Cortez had increased the Kenner North Post Office’s reserve stamp stock by more than $600,000. Subpoenaed records from his Regions Bank account revealed substantial deposits, including more than $58,000 in a one-month period in the summer of 2018.
In total, Postal records show that Cortez stole roughly $630,000 in stamps and sold them on Ebay. According to Postal authorities, his illegal activities constitute one of the largest internal thefts committed by a Postal Service employee in the history of the U.S. Postal Service.
Agents determined during their investigation that Cortez withdrew thousands of dollars on a regular basis at the Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. Harrah’s records revealed that he had lost over $667,000 since 2011 and lost over $220,000 in 2017. Cortez’s annual salary is $70,818 according to Postal records.
Cortez is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison followed by up to 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine based on the charge outlined in the complaint.