Accused of stealing more than $600K and of embezzling thousands from Mennonite church
A Des Allemands man and a Kenner Post Office manager was arrested last week and charged with misappropriation of postal funds or property in what’s considered one of the largest internal thefts by an employee in the history of the U.S. Postal Service.
According to U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser’s office, Ryan Cortez, 46, was arrested by special agents after authorities were notified by PayPal and eBay regarding significant quantities of U.S. postal stamps sold by Cortez on eBay. The Attorney’s Office said an investigation revealed that as manager, Cortez increased the Kenner North Post Office’s reserve stamp stock by more than $600,000. Subpoenaed records from Cortez’s bank account revealed substantial deposits, including more than $58,000 in a one-month period in the summer of 2018.
Further investigation determined Cortez withdrew thousands of dollars on a regular basis at Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans and that he lost over $667,000 since 2011 and over $220,000 in 2017. According to postal records, his annual salary earned was $70,818.
The criminal complaint also indicated Cortez embezzled thousands of dollars from Des Allemands Mennonite Church.
According to Postal authorities, the illegal activities constitute one of the largest internal Postal thefts by a Postal Service employee in the history of the U.S. Postal Service, the Attorney’s Office said.
Authorities executed a federal search warrant on Oct. 10, leading to Cortez’s arrest at the Kenner Post Office that same morning.
If convicted, Cortez faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, followed by up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.