Wednesday, August 15, 2018
News Roundup

Former St. Petersburg postal worker gets nine years in prison for theft of Social Security checks

TAMPA — A former U.S. Postal Service mail handler was ordered to serve nine years in prison Wednesday for stealing close to $3 million in Social Security checks from a St. Petersburg mail-processing facility.

Stacy Darnell Mitchell, 48, once worked at the St. Petersburg Processing and Distribution Facility, where over the course of several months in 2012, he stole more than 3,000 checks. Their intended recipients were all Pinellas County residents.

Mitchell, a military veteran, expressed remorse to U.S. District Judge James Moody.

"I want to apologize to the court and to the victims," he said.

He said he is receiving mental health and substance abuse treatment, and has been volunteering in the community while awaiting sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Scruggs said the case was unique in the number of people Mitchell chose to victimize.

"This is one of the most egregious Postal and Social Security theft cases the government has seen," he said. "What's unusual about this case is there were over 3,000 victims. … Mr. Mitchell betrayed his government, and he betrayed his neighbors."

After the thefts, Mitchell gave the checks to Richard Lee Anderson, who distributed them to other people in exchange for a percentage of their face value.

In October 2012, Tampa police recovered more than 200 stolen checks, totaling more than $100,000, from a home in the Highland Pines neighborhood. An analysis of Mitchell's time and attendance records revealed that he was at work in the days immediately before each of the thefts, court records showed.

Anderson admitted to his role in the scheme. He was ultimately sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

A jury convicted Mitchell in January for theft of government property and theft of mail.

In addition to nine years in prison, Judge Moody ordered Mitchell to serve three years of supervised release and pay more than $700,000 in restitution, the amount federal authorities were unable to recover.

Comments
The Daystarter: Read our Taylor Swift recap; what’s with that gigantic cube-shaped boat?; Jonchuck’s lawyers take novel approach ahead of trial

The Daystarter: Read our Taylor Swift recap; what’s with that gigantic cube-shaped boat?; Jonchuck’s lawyers take novel approach ahead of trial

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Scattered afternoon and evening showers expected, especially along Interstate 75, according to the National Weather Service. The high temperature will reach the upper 80s along the co...
Updated: 1 hour ago
As Jonchuck nears trial, defense takes novel approach to gain any advantage

As Jonchuck nears trial, defense takes novel approach to gain any advantage

In the coming trial of a father accused of tossing his 5-year-old daughter off a bridge to her death — a crime for which he faces the death penalty — nothing is normal.That has certainly been true for the flurry of motions filed by defendant John Jon...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Archer trade gets even better as Rays add promising young pitcher

Archer trade gets even better as Rays add promising young pitcher

NEW YORK — The return the Rays got from the Pirates for Chris Archer already looked good.Right-hander Tyler Glasnow has been increasingly impressive in three starts using his high-octane fastball and cruel breaking balls, and outfielder Austin ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After Michael Drejka's first court appearance, stand your ground case is expected to crawl

After Michael Drejka's first court appearance, stand your ground case is expected to crawl

LARGO — Clad in orange jail scrubs, Michael Drejka made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon via video monitor, one day after he was arrested on a manslaughter charge in the shooting of Markeis McGlockton. The proceeding was brief and ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Solid not good enough in loss to Yankees

Rays journal: Solid not good enough in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK — The Rays got another solid outing from LHP Jalen Beeks on Tuesday, though the few mistakes he did make were costly. Add their inability to muster much of anything offensively against J.A. Happ and two relievers, and the result was ye...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs could use another Tony Dungy to spark culture change

Bucs could use another Tony Dungy to spark culture change

TAMPA —  It seems a little odd, but Tony Dungy is just now being installed in the Bucs' Ring of Honor, two years after his bust was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Leave it to his former team.As if it matters to this man. Dungy...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Clearwater voters: a strong mayor question is official on the Nov. 6 ballot

Clearwater voters: a strong mayor question is official on the Nov. 6 ballot

CLEARWATER —It’s official. Voters will decide this fall whether Clearwater should change its government run by a professional city manager into a strong mayor system like Tampa and St. Petersburg.The City Council gave a final 3-2 vote on Tuesday to p...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Seminole man faces DUI manslaughter charges in deaths of father, son

Seminole man faces DUI manslaughter charges in deaths of father, son

SEMINOLE — A 60-year-old man was arrested Tuesday evening on two counts of DUI manslaughter in the July 28 chain-reaction crash that fatally injured a father and his son, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies arrested James Wolf ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hillsborough schools will begin disclosing more data about lead in drinking water

Hillsborough schools will begin disclosing more data about lead in drinking water

TAMPA ­­— The Hillsborough County School District will begin publicly disclosing all locations where it finds lead in schools’ water, not just the samples that tested highest, an official said Tuesday.Detailed results from the testing lab could begin...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Deputies: Pinellas County jail inmate died during surgery

Deputies: Pinellas County jail inmate died during surgery

ST. PETERSBURG — A jail inmate died Monday while undergoing surgery, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Cesar Gonzales-Espana, 43, had suffered a medical episode at the Pinellas County jail on Saturday, the agency said, and was taken t...
Published: 08/14/18