CLEVELAND — A former Cleveland postal employee will spend close to the next five years behind bars for stealing gift cards worth nearly $50,000.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Jennifer Riccardi, 46, was sentenced to 56 months in prison and three years of community control once she is released. She was also ordered to pay nearly $90,000 in restitution.
Authorities say the incidents thefts happened between December 2016 and December 2017.
Riccardi chose brightly-colored envelopes likely to contain greeting cards and then smuggled out gift cards inside her lunch bag, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The attorney's office said that on one day alone, Riccardi pilfered around 100 greeting cards, including one from a mother to her daughter and another for a 1-year-old child's birthday.
When law enforcement raided her home, they found more than 100 pieces of mail, $42,000 in cash, a currency counter machine and more than 1,500 gift cards totaling around $47,000.
“This defendant is accused of stealing more than a thousand gift cards worth tens thousands of dollars, including birthday presents or other gifts people entrusted to the postal service for delivery to their family and loved ones. As we approach the holiday season, it is important to remind anyone who is thinking of stealing from the mail that they will be held accountable for their actions, just like any other criminal,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said.
According to the attorney's office, Riccardi's boyfriend and co-defendent previously pleaded guilty to charges relating to his role in the scheme. He will be sentenced at a later date.