By Postal Inspector Claudia Angel
Among the types of equipment used are: plastic and wood pallets, plastic tray and tubs, canvas and plastic hampers, general purpose carts, and bulk mail containers to move the mail. In the past 10 years, the Postal Service purchased $1 billion of new postal MTE to replenish inventory and ensure that both our business and our customers can function effectively. Protecting all postal equipment is a balancing act affected by many external and internal sources.
Although rare, we have encountered situations at times where businesses and/or individuals kept excess amounts of postal equipment, and on occasion, have sold them to other businesses including recyclers. It is important that this equipment is returned to the Postal Service as the replacement costs add up quickly. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the federal law enforcement arm of the Postal Service, charged with securing the mail and postal assets. The Inspection Service is requesting your assistance in the recovery of postal equipment.
Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1707, states it is illegal to misuse postal-owned equipment. Violation of this statute is punishable with up to three years imprisonment with fines.
Criminal investigations conducted by the Inspection Service have revealed improper use with large quantities of postal equipment destroyed or recycled. As a result, the Postal Service is losing millions of dollars yearly in replacement costs.
The Postal Service does not sell postal equipment, and postal employees do not have the authority to do so, regardless of its condition. Damaged equipment is only disposed of through a limited number of certified recyclers. It is illegal to sell or recycle postal equipment. If a company is in possession of postal equipment which it is not actively being used in conducting business with the Postal Service, it may be interpreted that the company is in illegal possession of postal MTE.
The Inspection Service has been directed by the Chief Postal Inspector to conduct reviews at mailer and recycling facilities nationwide in order to recover postal MTE not actively being used in conducting business with the Postal Service and to educate the general public on how to identify the postal equipment and have it returned to the Postal Service. If you should encounter postal equipment at your business which is not being used in conjunction with doing business with the Postal Service, or if you are aware of a situation of postal equipment being improperly used, please contact our Mail Transportation Equipment Recovery Hotline at 866-330-3404; upon doing so, you will be contacted by a Postal Service representative who will arrange to have the postal MTE returned to the possession of the Postal Service.
Postal Inspector Claudia Angel currently serves as Program Manager at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service National Headquarters in Washington, DC. Inspector Angel oversees the Cybercrime Digital Product Security program in evaluating and recommending security controls, prevention, monitoring, detection and reporting for new/modified digital products developed or supported by the U.S. Postal Service.
Angel was appointed to the position of United States Postal Inspector for the United States Postal Inspection Service in August 2001 where she was assigned to the San Juan Field Office of the Newark Division and dedicated the first 10 years of her career conducting investigations throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.