Hastings postal employee convicted for opening U.S. Mail

United States Attorney Joe Kelly announced that Renee L. Coats, 58, of Hastings, NE, was sentenced today in Lincoln by Chief United States District Judge John M. Gerrard for opening and destroying U.S. mail as postal employee.

Coats was sentenced for a term of 3 years’ probation with special conditions, and an additional condition of 6 consecutive weekends (or 2-day periods) of intermittent confinement, to be served within one year. She will also be required to pay a $1,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal system.

In 2018, a postal customer on Coats’s postal route complained that she believed her mail was being stolen by her postal carrier. During the investigation of this complaint, Coats opened and retained six separate greeting cards which the investigators were monitoring through the months of August to October of 2018. On October 18, 2018, Coats’s postal vehicle was pulled over after she had opened one of these mailings. When she was searched incident to arrest, several rebate cards which were address to local businesses were located in Coats’s own wallet.

This case was investigated by the Office of Inspector General for the United States Postal Service.

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