An Augusta woman was sentenced Wednesday to three months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for stealing mail while she was an employee of the U.S. Postal Service at the post office in Temple.

Amanda K. Wentzell, 26, started working there as a retail clerk in February 2016, according to court records.

She had pleaded guilty May 10, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Bangor to the charge of theft of mail by a postal employee, and the sentencing by U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. took place there Wednesday.

The investigation by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the USPS Office of the Inspector General began after a Temple resident reported that his son had not received a prepaid debit card the resident had sent. Temple, with a population of about 500, is west of Farmington in Franklin County.

The investigation found Wentzell had activated the debit card and spent the $100 that had been loaded on it, according to the prosecution’s version of events. The inspector general’s office sent a test mail piece to Temple with a $10 Walmart card inside a greeting card.

“The investigator obtained Walmart surveillance video that showed the defendant using that gift card and two other Walmart gift cards on July 20 at the Walmart Supercenter in Farmington,” according to court records.

When Wentzell was interviewed by Detective Frank Charles of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Wentzell admitted the theft as well as seven separate thefts allegedly involving small amounts of cash and other gift cards, according to a news release sent previously from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The theft occurred in the period of April through August 2016,

Wentzell told Charles that when she had opened mail hoping to find cash or a gift card and found a check, “it was her practice” to throw away the check rather than placing it back in the mail.

On Aug. 9, 2016, Wentzell resigned from the U.S. Postal Service.

The theft of mail by a postal employee carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Wentzell, who was represented by attorney James Nixon, was ordered to pay $510 restitution. The prosecutor was Assistant U.S. Attorney F. Todd Lowell.

In March 2015, an Augusta man who pleaded guilty to theft of mail while he was relief postmaster at the East Vassalboro post office received a three-month jail sentence followed by a year of supervised release. In that case, prosecutors said Jason Stockmar, then 29, stole 25 to 30 pieces of customer mail, taking cash, checks and gift cards from those envelopes, and embezzled postal money orders, all in the peeriod of December 2012 to April 2013.

He paid $2,300 toward the $3,160 restitution at the time of his sentencing.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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