Connect with us

Politics

FOIA Request Reveals Rampant Embezzlement at Postal Service

FOIA Request Reveals Rampant Embezzlement at Postal ServicePersonal misuse of United States Post Office credit cards by employees is rampant according to a recent report by the Washington Examiner. While a total figure of Post Office funds embezzled by employees who used cards to gamble, rent cars, and cover personal expenses was not ascertained in the initial, very limited, Freedom of Information Act, (FOIA.) request to the Postal Service by the Washington Examiner, the number of dollars illegally withdrawn for use by individuals amounts to well over $100,000. Michal Conger, The Washington Examiner reporter who broke the story, said on Fox News’ nightly ‘On the Record,’ Monday evening, “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”The story reflects facts found in an earlier report by the Inspector General which has not been made available to the public and was kept under wraps until the FOIA request forced its disclosure. This revelation bodes badly for the agency that, this month, appeared before a House Subcommittee hearing asking for help with its financial situation.

According to the documents obtained by Conger, Postal employees used Government issued credit cards for cash advanced for gambling, personal vehicle repairs, rental cars, and un-receipted travel expenses for mileage, food, and lodging. Employees also used the cards to pay themselves for vacation and sick days. One employee admitted that she’d paid herself for 58 days, raking in a total of $24,000 of tax-free cash.

The USPS was quick to point out that the funds embezzled by Postal employees were not taxpayer funds, since the service operates on money garnered from sale of postage and stamps, the gaping holes in procedural accountability are staggering. The alleged payroll expenses alone, which require that Federal and State taxes be withheld from all amounts paid to employees, would land a private sector business in serious trouble had this happened outside the Government.

The Postal Service has been teetering on the brink of bankruptcy for some time, and is currently seeking changes to its mandate in order to come under fiscal control. As recently as March 19, 2014 an actuary from the Government Accounting Office, testified before congress that, at the end of FY 2014, the service had over 100 billion dollars in debt and unfunded benefit liabilities at the end of last fiscal year. Changes to the service itself, including the closing of some processing facilities and eliminating Saturday deliveries are being considered in order to plug some of the holes in the system.

While the misuse of funds is shocking by itself, the fact that these individuals have not yet been prosecuted for the crimes to which they confess is even more troubling. There is no way of knowing the scope of the misuse that has occurred nationwide. With the Postal Service seeking a bailout from the US Congress, the Examiner story points out the urgent need for tighter controls on the agency’s plastic.

Continue Reading
5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Phineas Gage

    Apr 2, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Just one tiny problem with your article- these credit cards are issued in the name of the employee, not the USPS. The employee is responsible for paying any balance on the card, regardless of whether or not it was for official travel. And while using the cards for personal items is a violation of USPS rules, it doesn’t cost the USPS any money. And, given that there are no postal or federal government funds being “embezzled” here, could you please tell us what law is being violated?

    • Ramona Wheeler

      Apr 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      I saw this story on Gretta Van Sustren’s show. I understand that some of the people who admitted to this stuff have already paid the money back. How do they do that if the card is theirs in the first place? I think you’re splitting hairs Phineas.

      Of COURSE there are lots of hard working, honest postal people. That’s not the point. The point is that if you worked for anybody else you would be fired for such stuff…$45,000???? C’mon. And why has this been kept secret? Can you say UNIONS????? Shame on the Post Office and the unions they support.

  2. Patricia Licata

    Apr 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    The U.S. Postal Service takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously. Claims are thoroughly investigated and action is taken to ensure compliance with Postal Service policies as well as applicable federal and state laws.
    The more than 500,000 men and women working for the Postal Service are hard-working, responsible and exceptional employees. The allegations regarding the individuals referenced in the Examiner article do not fairly represent the Postal Service nor the actions of its employees.
    The Postal Service is in the process of implementing more stringent controls including enhanced monitoring, oversight and approval requirements to ensure compliance.
    The Postal Service does not receive tax dollars for operating expenses. Revenue is generated solely from the sale of Postal Service products and services.
    It should be noted that the personal credit card charges referred to in the article are the obligations of the employees and not paid by the Postal Service.
    It is inaccurate to report that Postal employees spent thousands of taxpayer dollars using their credit cards.

    Patricia Licata
    US Postal Service Corporate Communications

    • Rusty Jacobs

      Apr 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      I don’t believe that the article is attacking the ENTIRE workforce of 500,000 employees, what I do believe it is showing is abuse from some. Would they have paid the money back if they hadn’t gotten caught, and what kind of business culture allows these people to think that they stand the chance of getting away with this kind of abuse?
      Even if I take the pretense that the employees knew that they were responsible to pay the card off at face value, why would it be acceptable for an employee to pay themselves for sick days and basically take a $24,000 tax free cash advance?
      The article isn’t disputing the source of the postal service’s funding, so is mentioning that a way to deflect public anger? I would think that given the debt the postal service has incurred, they would be trying to keep the cost of postage as low as possible before they bleed off more business, not arguing about where their funding comes from.
      I also have to question the wisdom of giving employees postal service cards that they can treat as personal ones because they are the “obligations of the employees”. Perhaps the postal service could learn a thing or two from the private sector.

  3. Ramona Wheeler

    Apr 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    So, Patricia,
    What you’re saying is, it’s all true, but the postal service is making some changes to keep it from happening again? Good!

    Can you explain why the Inspector General kept this secret?

    Thanks in advance for your prompt reply.
    RW

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top