BANGOR, Maine — An Augusta woman admitted Wednesday in U.S. District Court that she took cash and gift cards totaling at least $400 intended as gifts from mail between April 1 and Aug. 1.
Amanda K. Wentzel, 26, waived indictment and pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft of mail by a postal employee.
By pleading guilty, Wentzel admitted that while working as a clerk at the Temple Post Office she “rifled” through about 20 pieces of mail and took cash and gift cards for her own use, according to the prosecution version of events to which she pleaded guilty.
Temple is located west of Farmington.
“She said that she did not want to deal with checks and that she had thrown checks into the trash,” the document said. “On July 21, a postmaster sorted through the trash at the Temple Post Office and found several pieces of mail that the defendant had opened and discarded.”
Wentzel resigned Aug. 9.
She came to the attention of U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General after a Temple resident complained to the Franklin County sheriff’s office his son had not received a prepaid debit card sent to him by a friend.
A test piece of mail containing a greeting card and a $10 Wal-Mart gift card was sent July 19 from the Temple Post Office, according to the court document. On July 20, Wentzel used that card and two other Wal-Mart gift cards at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Farmington.
Wentzel is being represented by James Nixon of the Federal Defender’s Office. The office does not comment on pending cases, according to David Beneman, the head federal defender in Maine.
She was released Wednesday on personal recognizance bail.
A sentencing date has not been set.
She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She also could be ordered to pay restitution.