PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Two separate federal criminal complaints were filed today charging employees of the United States Postal Service with delay or destruction of mail by a postal employee, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
“During this election season, the integrity of the mails is more important than ever,” said U.S. Attorney Brady. “When any public employee, including a mail carrier, violates the law, we will respond quickly. These carriers each attempted to destroy mail, including both political advertisements and an application for a mail-in ballot. Anyone who would obstruct or delay United States mail that includes election-related materials should know that the Department of Justice will take quick, efficient action against them.”
“The vast majority of the Postal Service’s 630,000 employees are trustworthy, dedicated individuals working around the clock to deliver the nation’s mail,” said U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Cleevely, of the Eastern Area Field Office. “However, when one of those employees decide to violate the trust placed in them, Special Agents with the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General will conduct a thorough investigation, and seek criminal prosecution and termination of employment when appropriate. USPS OIG Special Agents are committed to ensuring that all election and political mail is delivered without delay or disruption. To report delay or destruction of mail, or any other crimes committed by postal employees, contact our Special Agents at www.uspsoig.gov or 888-USPS-OIG.”
A one-count Criminal Complaint named Sean Troesch, 48, of Pittsburgh, PA 15236 (Baldwin), as the sole defendant.
According to the criminal complaint, Sean Troesch was a City Carrier for and employee of the United States Postal Service. He worked out of the Post Office in Mount Oliver, Pennsylvania, and lived on Meadowcrest Road in Baldwin, Pennsylvania. On or about October 8, 2020, an employee of the Postal Service received an allegation about a mail carrier who lives on Meadowcrest Road in Baldwin. According to the report received by the Postal Service, the mail carrier who lives on Meadowcrest Road had previously been seen taking mail from the rear of his vehicle and placing it into trash bags. The mail carrier who lives on Meadowcrest Road was later identified as Sean Troesch.
On Sunday, October 11, 2020, a Special Agent with the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General received a report that Troesch had placed nine trash bags at the street in front of his house. Trash pickup in Troesch’s neighborhood was scheduled for Monday, October 12, 2020.
Later on October 11, 2020, Special Agents went to Troesch’s residence to speak with him about the contents of the trash bags. When asked if the bags in front of his house contained mail, Troesch indicated that one of the bags did. An investigators opened that bag, which included only bundled mail. Although Troesch initially reported that only that single bag contained mail, he ultimately acknowledged that all of the trash bags did and told investigators to take them. Four mail items were also recovered from Troesch’s personal vehicle. Troesch told investigators that the mail had been intended for delivery on his route, and acknowledged that it was wrong to throw mail into the trash.
On October 13, 2020, at the Mount Oliver Post Office, agents inventoried the mail that had been recovered from Troesch’s vehicle and the trash bags in front of his residence. It included 314 items of First Class Mail, seven items of Certified Mail, one item of Priority Mail, and 1,311 items political advertisements or similar items of campaign mail. One application requesting the delivery of a mail-in ballot was included among the pieces of First Class Mail. The seized mail did not contain any mail-in ballots.
A second criminal complaint named James McLenigan, 29, of Pittsburgh, PA 15201, (Lawrenceville) as the sole defendant.
According to the criminal complaint, James McLenigan was a City Carrier for and employee of the United States Postal Service, working out of the Pittsburgh Post Office Bloomfield Station. His delivery route included parts of Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.
On or about October 8, 2020, a Special Agent with the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General spoke with an employee of the Persad Center, located at 5301 Butler Street in Lawrenceville, who reported recovering mail from a trash bin outside of their office. The employee also reported that, on October 7, 2020 and October 8, 2020, the Persad Center’s video surveillance system had recorded a mail carrier throwing mail into a trash bin. The Special Agent took possession of the mail that had been collected by the Persad Center and the video surveillance.
The mail that had been collected by the Persad Center was subsequently inventoried by agents. It included 75 items of First Class Mail and 25 items of political advertisements or similar items of campaign mail. The seized mail did not contain any mail-in ballots, but it did contain one request for a mail-in ballot.. Agents also showed the video surveillance obtained from the Persad Center to the Postmaster of the Pittsburgh Post Office Bloomfield Station, who believed that the depicted carrier was James McLenigan.
On October 8, 2020, investigators interviewed McLenigan about the mail recovered from the trash bin outside of the Persad Center. During the interview, McLenigan acknowledged discarding mail intended for delivery into multiple trash cans along his route. He estimated that he discarded mail intended for delivery into a trash can that day, October 8, 2020, and acknowledged that it was wrong to do so.
The law provides for a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a fine of $250,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Bengel is prosecuting these cases on behalf of the government.
Special Agents of the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General investigated these cases.
A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant may not be prosecuted unless, within 30 days, a grand jury has found probable cause to believe that the defendant is guilty of an offense.