LAKE CHARLES, La. – Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that a former Lake Charles post office employee pleaded guilty last week to using U.S. Postal Service fuel cards for his personal vehicle.
Shawn Bell Jr., 21, of Port Arthur, Texas, pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay to one count of use of an unauthorized access device. The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell. According to the guilty plea, Bell started using U.S. Postal Service fuel cards for his private vehicle starting on November 29, 2016. Bell resigned as a route driver for the Drew Station Post Office in Lake Charles on January 12, 2017, after law enforcement agents interviewed him about U.S. mail from his route found discarded in a dumpster. Even after his resignation, he kept the fuel cards and used them through April 10, 2017 for a total loss to the U.S. Postal Service of $2,021.24.
Bell faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The court set a January 18, 2018 sentencing date.
The U.S. Postal Service-Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys T. Forrest Phillips and Robert C. Abendroth are prosecuting the case.