A former clerk at the U.S. Post Office in Paragould will plead guilty to misappropriation of postal funds, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.
In a plea agreement filed Feb. 23, Drake Newsom admitted to stealing $4,556.60 in proceeds from the sale of postage stamps.
The postmaster reported in 2018 that the Paragould office “was having an unusually short count of stamp stock,” according to the plea agreement.
Special agents for the USPS Inspector General’s Office conducted undercover purchases of $10 books of stamps from Newsom on several occasions. Investigators then reviewed keystroke logging program data for the time they made the purchases.
“The data for the purchases the agents conducted showed that Newsom sold them stamps, generated receipts, but only seconds later voided the sale; he then ‘sold’ a 1 cent stamp and occasionally a 63 cent envelope, to make it appear as though there was a legitimate transaction for much less money,” the document states.
At the end of the day he would keep the “excess” cash from his drawer after otherwise accounting for the contents of the drawer.
Based on a review of the data, agents determined the embezzlement began in October 2017. He confessed in January 2019, following the undercover investigation.
Newsom said the embezzlement began at a time when he had personal financial problems.
The crime is rated as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison, one year of supervised release and up to a $100,000 fine.
The document says he is eligible for a reduction in the sentence because of his cooperation with the investigation. He has also paid back the stolen money.
Newsom is now awaiting a sentencing date.
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