Former postal worker pleads guilty

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COLUMBIA - A former New Ellenton postal worker has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to theft of mail.

U.S. Attorney W. Walter Wilkins said in a news release that U.S. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour accepted the guilty plea from Denise Key, 43, Wednesday.

Judge Seymour will impose a sentence after a pre-sentence report is prepared and reviewed.

From November 2006 through November 2007 Ms. Key, who worked at the New Ellenton post office as a mail clerk, opened mail and removed checks, money orders, cash and gift cards, the U.S. attorney's statement said.

After mail customers reported the loss of money, gift cards, greeting cards and the delivery of opened mail, Ms. Key was identified as the employee pilfering the mail during a sting operation conducted in November, the statement said.

Mr. Wilkins said that the maximum penalty Ms. Key can receive is a fine of $250,000 and imprisonment for five years.

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