Seven postal workers are accused in a mail theft ring at the Providence Post Office

Gift cards, cash and checks stolen from mail in southern New England.

Federal authorities accuse seven Providence postal workers of running a massive, long-standing mail theft ring.

Investigators don’t know how much mail was stolen at the Providence Mail Processing and Distribution Center on Corliss Street, but they do know hundreds were spent on personal items and they received a backpack full of checks worth more than $1 million.

“It was tremendous,” U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Zachary Cunha said Wednesday as he announced the bust.

The investigation dates back to a year ago.

“These thefts were not isolated incidents. Surveillance conducted during the investigation showed that multiple members of the conspiracy would seize the stolen mail, set it aside, and then smuggle the stolen mail out of the facility on any given day,” Cunha said.

Investigators allege that the accused workers would separate mail they suspected of containing money or checks, place that mail in backpacks to sneak out of the postal facility, and divide it up after work.

Authorities said the accused workers targeted the greeting cards around Christmas time and took cash and gift cards.

As for the checks they are accused of taking, Cunha said, “I think if you looked at one backpack, from one day, worth $1.3 million, and you extrapolated it, you could probably come up with some numbers yourself.”

The accused workers are supervisor Cyril Murray, Ryan Lee, Angel Rivera, Andre Williams, Willie Estrella, Darren Camacho and his cousin Fernando Camacho, who investigators said they tracked down last year using stolen gift cards at stores.

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Camacho, outside federal court in Providence after his initial appearance on the charges Wednesday afternoon, answered “no comment” to questions from the NBC 10 I-Team about the charges.

Six of the accused workers appeared in court on Wednesday and were released on bail.

Lee was indicted earlier this month.

NBC 10 reported the investigation was underway In March, when local businesses received letters from postal inspectors reporting that checks intended for businesses were in the possession of a postal worker.

Asked if the Providence Mail Processing Center had made any changes in the wake of the theft, Matthew Modafferi, special agent for the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, said: “From what we’ve seen, the complaints that have come to us have decreased significantly since these individuals stopped working.” Or handle mail.

The accused workers had either left their jobs or been removed as the investigation began.

Cunha said everyone should be careful when sending valuables through the mail, and advised against sending cash.

The US Postal Service said suspected mail theft can be reported by calling 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644), by Submit a report onlineOr by sending an email to hotline@uspsoig,gov.

Written complaints may be mailed to USPS OIG, Attn: OIG Hotline, 1735 North Lynn St., Arlington, VA 22209-2020.

The text phone number is 1-866-OIG-TEXT (1-866-644-8398).

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