By Patty Ryan – December 16, 2015
TAMPA — Postal inspectors are the cops of the U.S. Postal Service, protecting carriers and ensuring trust in the mail. They’re usually the ones pointing out wrongdoing, sometimes testifying at criminal trials.
But a Tampa postal inspector resigned in disgrace in July and admits to embezzling $5,000 in mailed money orders before reporting his lapse to a superior, a new court record shows. John P. Ebsworth-Mojica, 40, said in a plea agreement filed Wednesday that he took a parcel containing five Postal Service money orders worth $1,000 each, all purchased in March and mailed from an unidentified Tampa post office.
“It’s truly rare,” said Paul Krenn, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who could think of only one other similar case nationally in a force of just under 1,400 inspectors. “It blows the imagination, honestly, that we would have that.”
The Tampa inspector’s conduct was investigated by the Postal Service’s independent Office of Inspector General, which polices internal matters, including theft by clerks, carriers and contractors. That type of theft is less rare. Even so, fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s 488,000 postal workers get caught stealing mail, the agency reports.