A Fort Worth federal grand jury indicted a former postal worker and union leader who allegedly defrauded postal employees of more than $225,000.
John P. Woods Jr., 68, of Arlington was a U.S. Postal Service employee and elected president of the Fort Worth branch of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union before he was charged with 25 counts of wire fraud, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The union was located at the Jack D. Watson Processing and Distribution Center in Fort Worth where managers resorted to using other Postal Service employees to handle mail when the center was overcome with a high volume of mail, the release said.
The is in an apparent violation of a national agreement between the two entities, according to the release.
Woods helped to file class-action lawsuits against the Postal Service, which in turn agreed to compensate mail handlers, the release said.
Woods is accused of creating and operating a scheme in which more than $225,000 of the settlements would be paid to him and his chief stewards between January 2006 and February 2007, according to the indictment.
Read more: Star Telegram
Press Release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District Of Texas
FORT WORTH, Texas —A federal grand jury in Fort Worth returned an indictment this week against John P. Woods, Jr., 68, of Arlington, Texas, charging him with 25 counts of wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. It is expected that Woods will self surrender within the week.
According to the indictment, Woods was a U S. Postal Service employee and elected branch president of the Fort Worth branch of the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, located at the Jack D. Watson Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). Woods received a salary from the Postal Service but performed only union business. As union branch president, Woods represented more than 300 mail handlers who worked at the P&DC
Postal Service managers at the P&DC experienced a high mail volume and resorted to using other Postal Service employees on a continuing basis to perform mail handler work, in apparent violation of the national agreement between the Postal Service and the union. Woods caused numerous grievances to be filed against the Postal Service, who agreed to compensate mail handlers.
Between January 2006 and February 2007, Woods devised and operated a scheme to defraud mail handlers at the P&DC, and to obtain for himself and his chief shop stewards more than $225,000, by causing most of the grievance settlements to be paid to Woods and his chief stewards.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, Woods faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, per count. In addition, restitution could be ordered.
The case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys William A. Keefer and Katherine H. Reilly are in charge of the prosecution.