Probation ordered for letter carrier convicted of stealing cash from mail

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Kevin Murphy/Special to The Gazette
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MADISON—A former Janesville letter carrier who took cash from birthday and sympathy cards was placed on two years probation and ordered to make $1,225 restitution Tuesday in federal court.

Kristy Hollibush, 43, had been a letter carrier for 13 years, delivering mail on Rural Route 12 when the collapse of her marriage in 2011 lead to her financial difficulties, defense attorney Michael Lieberman said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Anderson said Hollibush was not only removing cash from the mail, but she was stealing priceless memories and sentiments. Anderson recommended a sentence of up to six months in custody.

“It's not just the violation of government trust she committed but also the invasion of privacy that patrons entrusted in her,” Anderson said.

Postal inspectors began investigating Hollibush after receiving multiple complaints from patrons about lost mail.

On Sept. 25, 2012, postal inspectors installed a surveillance camera in Hollibush's delivery vehicle and planted five pieces of first-class mail from cooperative customers along her route.

The camera showed Hollibush open one of the test mail pieces, a greeting card, and remove $30 cash, Anderson said.

The inspectors pulled over Hollibush and recovered the $30 that Hollibush had put into a cigarette box.

Forty-one postal patrons were victimized by Hollibush's thefts from late 2011 to September 2012, Anderson said.

In an emotion-filled statement, Nancy Schulz told District Judge Lynn Adelman how Hollibush's theft of condolence cards mailed to her after her daughter's funeral robbed her of something more precious than money.

“She took the love others had (expressed) for (Kayleigh) … It's hard to comprehend this. She has to pay for this,” Schulz said.

The trust Hollibush betrayed makes Schulz still wonder if the carriers who replaced Hollibush also are stealing from her.

Hollibush said she had no excuse for what she did and felt “horrible for what has happened.”

Lieberman asked for a year's probation for Hollibush, saying it was her first offense and that she needs to continue working to support herself.

Adelman said it was not appropriate to impose a harsher sentence than normal for the crime despite the pain it caused.

Adelman said Hollibush spent the stolen money on gas and other necessities, pleaded guilty, expressed genuine remorse, found another job and continues to work for an employer who values her.

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