To fuel gambling habit, U.S. Post Office manager sold stolen stamps, embezzled from church: feds

After losing more than $667,000 while gambling in recent years, a manager at the U.S. Post Office in north Kenner stole $630,000 worth of stamps from his job and sold them online, federal authorities in New Orleans said this week.

Ryan S. Cortez, 46, also embezzled nearly $10,000 from a church in Des Allemands that listed him as its treasurer, all to fuel a gambling problem to which he confessed, the feds allege.

Cortez faces accusations of misappropriating postal funds or property following his arrest on a criminal complaint Wednesday.

According to the complaint, an agent with the U.S. Postal Service inspector general's office noticed there were $630,000 worth of stamps listed in reserve at the post office at 390 W. Esplanade Ave. when the usual amount is no more than $70,000.

Suspicion focused on Cortez, the manager of customer service operations at the facility, because he was frequently in charge of the office’s stock of stamps.

The agent, William Kuhn, then noticed Cortez had used the online marketplace eBay and the payment service PayPal to sell “large quantities of stamps at significantly less than their face value to several individuals,” the complaint said.

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