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Postal employee pleads guilty to stealing mail

STAFF REPORTS


ROCHESTER -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that James Ludwig, 45, of Fairport, NY, pleaded guilty to theft of mail matter by a postal employee before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that on December 27, 2017, the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, received information about mail thefts at the Victor, NY Post Office. Postal managers reported receiving multiple complaints of missing mail from postal customers. All of the complaints came from Victor City Route 01. The defendant was identified as the assigned carrier during the time the mail went missing.

A subsequent investigation determined that all the customers reported missing mail which contained either cash or gift cards, some of which were mailed to the victims, while other missing items were stamped and addressed to others and placed in the mailbox for pick up by the letter carrier. One victim, who reported a specific retail store gift card missing, retained the gift card identification number and determined that the stolen gift card was redeemed at a local store in the Rochester area. The retailer was able to identify the person who redeemed the stolen gift card.

During the investigation, Postal OIG Special Agents conducted surveillance of Ludwig while he carried out his postal duties. The defendant was electronically tracked to deviate from his assigned postal route, and to travel to the residential address of the individual who redeemed the stolen gift card. Also during the investigation, agents placed a piece of outgoing mail in a mailbox along City Route 01 which contained two $25 Wegmans store gift cards. It was subsequently determined that the gift cards were used by the defendant.

Postal OIG Special Agents also installed a surveillance video camera in the Postal Service government vehicle operated by Ludwig during the course of his official duties as a letter carrier. A review of that surveillance video found the defendant picking envelopes that appeared to contain greeting cards out of his assigned load, opening the envelopes, and removing items from inside the envelopes. Additionally, the surveillance video showed that while on duty, Ludwig was observed preparing two lines of a white powdery substance, which he appeared to ingest nasally through the use of a rolled dollar bill.

The plea is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kenneth Cleevely.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 6, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. before Judge Wolford.