Federal prosecutors are recommending that a former postal worker in New Bedford serve no prison time for allegedly stealing over $20,000 from the US Postal Service, according to a plea agreement filed in the case Friday.
The agreement, submitted in US District Court in Boston, says prosecutors will recommend that Austin J. Correia, 22, of New Bedford, serve two years’ probation including a period of home confinement and pay restitution of $20,584, among other conditions, records show.
Correia’s slated to plead guilty on Aug. 7 to a charge of theft of government money and faces a maximum prison term of 10 years, according to legal filings.
An indictment says Correia, who joined the postal service in December 2017, worked as a sales and service distribution associate and skimmed from his employer from approximately December 2018 to March 2019.
According to the indictment, “upon being handed cash payment by customers purchasing stamps at both the Mount Pleasant and North Street Post Offices in New Bedford, engaged in a scheme to void out the transactions as if they did not occur. CORREIA then provided the customer with the stamps and took the cash for his own personal use.”
The stamp scheme netted Correia $1,669.06, but his siphoning of money order funds was far more lucrative, according to the indictment.
The filing says that “from approximately January 2019 to March 2019, CORREIA, upon being handed cash payment by customers purchasing postal money orders at the Mount Pleasant and North Street Post Offices, engaged in a scheme to void out the transactions as if they did not occur. CORREIA provided the customer with the money order, but then later voided the transaction and took the cash for his own personal use. At times, CORREIA used the funds to purchase gift cards that were for sale at the respective post office.”
Correia collected $18,914.94 from the money order malfeasance, according to prosecutors. He’s currently free on $10,000 bond.