Postal worker who stole, threw away thousands of letters hired as state employeeon October 28, 2013 @ 7:49 pm (Updated: 7:33 am - 10/30/13 )
Stephanie A. Biscay, 44, of McCleary, worked for the U.S. Postal Service from 1995 until her resignation in 2012.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Biscay routinely failed to deliver mail along her route in rural Rochester, Wash., from November 2011 to April 2012.
"For approximately six months, (the) defendant regularly threw away large quantities of mail items at her personal trash bin and at the trash bin of a local grocery store," according to court documents.
Residents in the area said Biscay was also seen dumping mail at an old cemetery.
An agent with the Office of the Inspector General found that Biscay was actively searching for new employment and, on at least one occasion, went to a job interview when she should have been delivering mail.
In total, Biscay opened, delayed, destroyed, or stole 686 pieces of first-class mail, 986 pieces of bulk business mail, 719 pieces of standard class mail, 125 pieces of non-profit class mail, and 50 periodicals.
Diana Balsam, a retired firefighter who lives on Bootjack Drive in Rochester, was among Biscay's victims. At first, she said residents suspected kids were stealing the mail, but she filed a report with the Lewis County Sheriff's Office in December 2011 when she was late receiving a worker's compensation check from Labor & Industries.
"Every two weeks, like clockwork, when my check was supposed to come it would show up late. Sometimes it wouldn't show up at all," she said.
Balsam, 54, who is among those who Biscay will have to pay restitution to, said the mail theft had a disastrous impact on her finances. She said bills were delayed, mortgage statements went undelivered, and important letters from the Social Security Administration never made it to her house.
Victims also include a woman who did not receive her prescription heart medication and another who incurred fees when rent payments went undelivered.
Aubrey Smith, 70, of Rochester, also lives along the route that Biscay was responsible for.
"On two or three different occasions, we missed our Cabela's bill, which caused us not to make our payment," he said. "We didn't know what was going on until this all came out in the open."
He said he was shocked to find out that Biscay, whom he described as friendly, was responsible.
"I wasn't happy. My wife wasn't happy. I'm sure everybody on her route wasn't happy," he said. "The punishment she got probably didn't fit the crime we all thought it should."
Biscay pleaded guilty to one count delay or destruction of mail in July 2013.
Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, she avoided prison time in favor of a drug and alcohol treatment program called DREAM, the Drug Reentry Alternative Model. To qualify for the program, it must be determined that a defendant's actions were motivated by substance abuse.
Should Biscay complete the 12 to 24-month program, the federal case against her will be dismissed.
While it is unclear what the nature of Biscay's dependency is, she was arrested for driving under the influence a month prior to her resignation from the U.S. Postal Service.
According to records from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Department, Biscay was pulled over in the city of McCleary on Friday, March 9, 2012. Her blood alcohol level at the time of arrest was .321, more than four times the legal limit.
Court records indicate that Biscay was given a deferred prosecution in the case, which means that the DUI will be dismissed upon completion of an alcohol treatment program.
In the midst of the federal investigation into Biscay's conduct as a postal worker, she was hired as a state employee with the Washington Health Care Authority, where she helps process applications for Medicaid.
Jim Stevenson, a spokesperson for the agency, said Biscay was hired in November 2012 and passed a state patrol background check.
The state patrol said the federal investigation would not have shown up in the check, and a misdemeanor DUI would not have disqualified her for a job with the Health Care Authority.
Balsam said she was furious when she found out Biscay was still a government employee.
"What gives you the right to have a state job with state benefits when you have destroyed me and my family?" Balsam said. "How dare you?"
Stevenson said Biscay went through a probationary period and has performed her duties successfully since being hired.
"KIRO Radio On Assignment" features in-depth, investigative reports on a variety of topics including government accountability, consumer advocacy and the criminal justice system. To send a KIRO Radio reporter "On Assignment," email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online form.
SDOT says human error is to blame for West Seattle Bridge de-icing crashes
Danny O'Neil shares what we learned from the Seahawks' loss to the 49ers
The Holiday Map
Find Santa photos, tree farms, lights & seasonal events with our holiday map
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.