Postal inspector in Maine gets first jury trial, and another win

The Associated Press
Posted July 26, 2010, at 5:02 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — U.S. Postal Inspector Michael Desrosiers has investigated numerous criminal cases leading to hundreds of convictions over his 14 years on the job in Maine.

Virtually all of them resulted in guilty pleas. In one case, a judge found the defendant guilty. His first case to go to a jury trial ended the same way last week — with a conviction.

“I don’t know if it’s happenstance or good investigations,” the 52-year-old Desrosiers said of his record.

Postal inspectors investigate mail fraud, mail theft, identity theft, post office burglaries and instances where bombs, drugs or child pornography are sent through the mail. About 1,400 postal inspectors are stationed throughout the country, including two in Maine.

Desrosiers has been a postal inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for 23 years, first in Minnesota and Texas before coming to Maine in 1996. The agency, which was founded by Benjamin Franklin, is the primary law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service.

Desrosiers has testified before federal grand juries before, but found himself testifying before a trial jury last week for the first time in his career.

Charles Stergios, 26, of Brunswick chose to face a jury rather than waive his right to a jury trial or plead guilty on mail fraud and bank fraud charges.

Prosecutors said Stergios schemed to defraud Maine Bank and Trust by forging checks on its accounts and presenting them to banks in New York City. They said he also defrauded USAA Bank of San Antonio, Texas, by opening accounts, inflating their balances with fraudulent wire transfers and then taking out money. As part of the scheme, he also was charged with mail fraud for using the mail to take possession of debit cards.

Stergios is expected to be sentenced this fall.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says 14 years is a long time to go without having a case decided by a jury, although it’s not unheard of. Agency spokeswoman Denise Backus says the agency doesn’t keep track of how long inspectors have worked without having a case go to trial.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/07/26/news/postal-inspector-in-maine-gets-first-jury-trial-and-another-win/ printed on July 23, 2014