True Can Never Put All of the Details in a story that might be interesting, or might even add to the commentary, but I can comment here! But first, let’s start with the story, from True’s 27 October issue:
That’s the Ticket
Students at Winona State University weren’t getting all their mail, and a suspicious retired cop decided to take action: he mailed a winning lottery ticket to his brother, sticking it inside a greeting card. The $5 ticket was cashed, but not by the brother. With the help of surveillance video, the postmaster of Winona, Minn., Sherri Jo Genkinger, 58, was arrested. According to prosecutors, she confessed to taking cash and shredding cards; federal investigators found a bag of “apparently shredded greeting cards” in her office. She has been sentenced to probation, to do community service for 80 hours, and to repay the $5 to the retired cop. Genkinger had already been relieved of her postal responsibilities. (AC/Minneapolis Star Tribune) …That’s a lot to lose on a lottery ticket.
[Clarity: “AC” is True contributor Alexander Cohen.]
Postmaster Sherri Jo Genkinger, who was stealing money from the mail, was a piece of work. When confronted, “Genkinger recalled finding gift cards,” investigators wrote in their report. “She clarified that she most often found nothing and had only ever taken cash for herself.” Plus, “In a written statement,” the report notes, “Genkinger offered no explanation for her conduct and said she hoped to keep her job.”
Keep … her … job?!
Frankly, it’s amazing she isn’t in prison. They only had solid evidence of one $5 theft, but she admitted that she stole more. “Unfortunately, Ms. Genkinger decided to betray the public’s trust and steal mail from postal customers,” said John D. Masters, special agent in charge of the regional USPS Inspector General’s office. “Today’s sentence sends a clear message that mail theft is a federal crime and carries serious consequences.”
A “Clear Message”?!
Really? A little slap on her hand like (gasp!) paying back five whole dollars, probation, and a little community service is a “clear message”? What she did was a federal felony punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. She wasn’t some newly hired part-timer tempted by knowing there was cash inside an envelope, she was the postmaster — the supervisor of 63 employees — who made $6,000 a month in a one Zip Code, 27,000-person town, which is more than double the median household income in Winona, Minn.
Yep, she lost that job, and rightly so. But while all of that is “a lot to lose on a lottery ticket,” as Alexander said in his tagline, it really is a very light sentence for “betraying the public’s trust,” stealing from grandmothers sending birthday gifts, parents supporting their students at the small local university, and countless others. Keep her job? Smack my forehead!
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