A former U.S. Postal Service contractor has pleaded guilty in the theft of thousands of pieces of mail in The Villages.
U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg has announced that 25-year-old Miranda Delee Farleigh of Ocklawaha has pleaded guilty to possessing stolen mail. Farleigh faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. Farleigh had been indicted on Feb. 1.
Farleigh had a postal key and was delivering mail from the Lady Lake Post Office to multiple postal stations in The Villages for half a dozen years. The contract was held by Farleigh’s mother.
Farleigh’s parents went to the Lady Lake Postmaster and asked for a meeting after finding several tubs of undelivered mail in their daughter’s bedroom. The mail was turned over to the postmaster.
On Nov. 23, the parents went to the Alhambra Postal Station to confront Farleigh. At the postal station, they found more mail in their daughter’s car.
The following day, a veteran postal inspector was assigned to the case. Within days, he determined that Farleigh had rifled through more than 4,000 pieces of mail.
“Nearly all of the rifled envelopes consisted of outgoing mail that appeared to hold a holiday and/or greeting card,” the investigator wrote in a report, according to a criminal complaint on file in U.S. District Court.
During an interview with the investigator, Farleigh confessed that while she had been working in her official capacity as a mail carrier, she had targeted the outgoing mail that was dropped off by residents in The Villages.
“She advised she also had driven to nearby postal station mail rooms that were not on her route, entered the mail rooms, and stolen the outgoing mail,” according to the criminal complaint.
During the investigation it came to light that Farleigh had a drug problem as well money woes.