Public servant steals for gambling, gets busted

A post office manager in Louisiana took advantage of his position to steal around $630,000 in stamps.  They weren't for mailing Christmas cards to his friends and family - the thief needed them to cover gambling losses.  Now, Ryan Cortez is looking at a huge fine and up to ten years in prison. 

A search warrant was presented at the home of the 49-year old Manager of Customer Service Operation for the North Kenner Post Office this past Wednesday by the Postal Office of the Inspector General.  Upon entering the home, inspectors discovered documents confirming the theft, as well as packaging associated with the stamps.   Cortez had allegedly taken the stamps and then sold them - mostly on eBay - to cover his losses.  After confirming their suspicions, the investigators found Cortez at the post office and arrested him.

Cortez has been charged with misappropriation of postal funds or property.  If found guilty in court, he faces penalties of up to $250,000 and ten years in prison. 

The theft had occurred over a seven-year period.  He had apparently been a regular - and poor - gambler who lost over $660,000.  Last year was especially rough and he is said to have lost over $220,000.  He was able to be tracked since he did most of his gambling at Harrah's in New Orleans.  At one point last year, he lost around $58,000 in a 30-day period. 

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