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Postal carrier admits not delivering 125,000 pieces of mail

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By The Staff

Bronson letter carrier Rose Conklin pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to failing to deliver more than 125,000 letters, newspapers and circulars over a six-year period that she worked with the U.S. Postal Service. She faces the possibility of a five year prison sentence, plus three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and a $100 monetary assessment.

As part of her plea deal she has agreed to pay the $100 assessment before her sentencing in November.

Conklin was indicted on June 23 on a charge of delay or destruction of mail or newspapers, and arrested on June 30 following a three-month investigation by postal inspectors. The investigation started after the postmaster in Bronson received a tip claiming Conklin was not delivering mail on her route.

Postal inspectors followed her in April and discovered she was not delivering at least two pieces of mail to every home: The Tri-County Bulletin, published by the Citizen, and a sale circular for Winn Dixie.  She also did not return the materials to the post office with her undelivered items. The inspectors followed up by planting items in her mail delivery that were not received by the recipients. In one instance, a piece of planted mail was recovered from her home, while another was recovered from her vehicle.

 “Conklin stated (to the inspectors) that for approximately one year she would take undelivered mail back to her residence, open 'non-profit' mail, and burn some of the mail in her backyard. Rose admitted she would burn mail weekly. She informed the investigators that there were probably 100 bags of undelivered mail at her home,” Conklin said in her statement of facts filed in federal court.

In her statement to the court, Conklin said between October 2003 and May 2009 she failed to deliver about 125,000 pieces of mail to residents on her route in Bronson and that she hid the mail in trash bags scattered about the spare bedroom of her home, the carport, yard and side building.

She also admitted opening and rifling through some of the mail and that about 28,000 pieces of mail could not be checked because of its condition due to being burned, moldy or destroyed by the elements.

Investigators found 262 pieces of undelivered mail in her vehicle, about 125,000 pieces of mail, including letters, cards and packages, and some was postmarked as far back as October 1, 2003. They also found she had removed address labels from some of the mail and stuffed them into empty cigarette packages, and several burned Postal Service mail tuibs and postal bins.

    The undelivered mail was transported in 40 containers — each holding about 4,033 pieces of mail — to Jacksonville.

    She is due to be sentenced on November 12 at 11 a.m. by Senior Judge Maurice M. Paul of the U.S. Federal District Court for Northern Florida in Gainesville.