SAN DIEGO – U.S. Postal Service employee Esteban Sanchez was sentenced in federal court today to time served and ordered to pay $20,153.23 in restitution for stealing money orders from 21 post office customers.
Sanchez pleaded guilty on November 3, 2020 to Theft of Mail by Postal Employee. The stolen money was often needed to pay the customers’ rent and other essentials.
The defendant was a clerk at the Encanto, Southeastern and Andrew Jackson post offices in San Diego. Beginning in February 2019 and continuing through May 2019, Sanchez stole approximately 31 money orders from customers who purchased them from him at the Encanto and Southeastern Offices.
The customers put the money orders in envelopes and provided them to Sanchez for him to mail. Instead of mailing the money orders, Sanchez set them aside and after the customers left, he cashed the money orders and pocketed the money.
In April and May 2019, two customers filed complaints at the post office stations where Sanchez worked. The customers reported that the money orders that they’d purchased and mailed were never delivered to the intended recipients. Agents for the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) conducted an investigation and data analysis and determined that Sanchez cashed at least 31 money orders, from 21 different customers, totaling $20,153.23. Some of the thefts were captured on video surveillance from inside the Post Office.
All of the victims of Sanchez’s thefts have been reimbursed by the United States Postal Service.
“Customers trust the post office with important business, and we are going to keep it that way,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “In the rare case where a postal employee is unworthy of that trust, we will step in and make it right.” Grossman praised prosecutor Andrew Sherwood and U.S. Postal Service investigators for their excellent work on this case.
“The majority of Postal Service employees are hardworking and honest people. On the rare occasion that an employee betrays that trust, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General will aggressively pursue the actions and allegations of theft. I want to stress that we are committed to preserving the integrity of the U.S. Mail and U.S. Postal Service resources,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian Washington, with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
To report fraud, waste, and misconduct to the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, please visit www.uspsoig.gov/hotline or send your complaint to ATTN: HOTLINE, USPS OIG, 1735 North Lynn Street, Arlington, VA 22209-2020.
DEFENDANT Criminal Case No. 21-CR-02453-GPC
Esteban Sanchez Age: 26 San Diego, CA
SUMMARY OF CHARGE
Theft of Mail by Postal Employee (Felony) – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1709
Maximum penalty: Five years in prison; $250,000 fine
United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General