Postal worker gets probation for mail theft
July 30, 2013
By Peter Clark
An Issaquah postal worker, who pleaded guilty to opening mail and stealing at least $500 and 30 gift cards, will not face jail time.
Last fall, 45-year-old Annie Wei was caught with opened mail in her purse after questions about lost gift cards and money along her route led to an investigation. On July 26, she was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service and $585 in restitution fines after being charged with one federal misdemeanor count of delay of destruction of mail.
According to the report prepared by Anne Stanek in the United Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, mail was planted in order to catch Wei in the act.
“On Nov. 29, 2012, United States Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General Special Agents conducted an integrity test on Wei and placed a first-class greeting card for her to handle in the performance of her duties,” the report read. “We opened the first-class mail piece and removed the contents.”
That led the Renton resident to confess her crimes. The report states that once agents told Wei that the mail had been planted, “Wei further stated she has been stealing cash and gift cards from the mail since approximately June 2012 and estimated she has stolen about $500 or $600 in cash and about 30-50 gift cards from the mail.”
Office of Inspector General Agents then recovered 75 opened greeting cards in her personal vehicle, which Wei admitted to stealing.
She entered a guilty plea April 19.
Wei’s public defense attorney Peter Avenia submitted to the court that she began stealing money for financial reasons.
“In reviewing the defendant’s economic profile, one can see how those pressures could build up over time,” Avenia wrote. “Neither Annie Wei nor her husband earns a large income. She works part time in order to maintain a heavy commitment to her daughter’s athletic career, which requires being regularly available as a driver and chaperone for her daughter’s out-of-state athletic tournaments.”
The prosecution in her trial was indignant about how the defendant stole from the public, counting more than 50 victims affected by the her crimes. However, United States Attorney Jenny Durkan looked at Wei’s lack of criminal background as a reason for a lesser sentence.
“Regarding the history and characteristics of the defendant, the defendant has no criminal history and appears to have been a productive, law abiding member of this community prior to her severe lapse in judgment,” Durkan’s sentencing recommendation reads. “For that reason, the United States has concluded that a term of imprisonment is not necessary.”
Given the number of victims, presiding Judge Brian Tsuchida could have sentenced Wei to a year in prison.