Appeals Court Overturns Postal Worker’s Conviction for Theft

Michael Sargent, a former Bulk Mail Technician in Anchorage, AK, won a reversal of his conviction and sentence of 30 months in prison for theft of public property and theft of postal service property. An Appeals Court ruled that  1) the district court erred by holding that USPS proved Postage Statements [PS Form 3602] had “value” in excess of $1,000 which is a felony. The  29-year postal employee was convicted for failing to charge customers over $400,000 in bulk mail shipments — made of items such as business mailings and brochures — because he said he wanted to bankrupt the United States Postal Service, in part because of a missed promotion and its overtime policy. See decision USA vs Sargent

Previous Press Release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office

ANCHORAGE, AK – Acting U.S. Attorney Deborah M. Smith announced today that former Postal Service employee Michael Sargent, 48, of Anchorage, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Anchorage by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline to 30 months in prison for theft of public records and theft of property used by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

Sargent was previously found guilty by the Court for stealing postage statements, financial documents provided by bulk mail customers which calculate postage due. Sargent then cleared their mail for processing, and did not make the proper computer entries to transfer funds from bulk mail customer accounts to the United States Postal Service. Sargent then stole and destroyed the postage statements so that the financial loss would not be discovered by the USPS.

In court records, Judge Beistline found that Sargent was angry with the USPS because of perceived injustices and sought to injure the agency. The judge noted the defendant was upset by the USPS overtime policy and the loss of a promotion. He sought to injure the USPS by reducing the monies it received from postal customers, and he wanted to “get his pound of flesh.” His actions “were steeped in anger and a desire for revenge,” Judge Beistline said. The loss inflicted upon the USPS was $449,265.18.

At great time and expense, the USPS has been able to recover a significant portion of the loss amount, but collection efforts are ongoing against several bulk mail customers, according to court records.

When imposing sentence, Judge Beistline stated that he wanted to send a message that it is not acceptable for an unhappy employee to attempt to destroy his company or agency? such serious criminal conduct will be dealt with severely.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General.