Former postal worker pleads guilty to mail theft

MADISON — John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Belinda Chizek, 47, Prentice, Wis., pleaded guilty on December 15th in U. S. District Court in Madison to one count of mail theft.

In September 2016, a federal grand jury sitting in Madison returned a one-count indictment against Chizek. The indictment alleged that while working as a contract rural route carrier for the U. S. Post Office in Phillips, Wis., Chizek stole mail.

At the plea hearing, Chizek admitted that she stole cash from mail that she had been assigned to deliver on her two rural routes in Phillips in February and March 2016. After being caught stealing $20 from a test mailing, Chizek confessed to postal inspectors. She told the inspectors she stole cash from the mail to pay her bills because her family bait shop business was not doing well. Chizek estimates she opened over 100 pieces of mail and stole about $500 in cash during February and March 2016.

U. S. District Judge James Peterson scheduled sentencing for February 14, 2017. Chizek faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release.