A local U.S. Postal Service letter carrier was formally indicted in connection with the missing mail incidents that have transpired recently in both North Kingstown and East Greenwich.
Last Wednesday, according to a press release from United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, a federal grand jury in Providence returned an indictment against Matteo Morelli, 34, of Warwick. Mortelli is charged with one count of delay or destruction of mail by a Postal Service officer or employee.
According to the press release, it is alleged in court documents that Morelli discarded more than 1,000 pieces of mail that were addressed to both individuals and various businesses in East Greenwich and North Kingstown.
According to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint filed previously with the court, as stated in the press release, the Postmaster for East Greenwich, back in June, received multiple complaints within the two neighboring communities that mail sent via the U.S. Postal Service had not been delivered to intended recipients on routes assigned to Morelli. The Postmaster, according to the release, also received complaints of mail not reaching intended recipients along routes in North Kingstown assigned to Morelli.
According to the affidavit, following an interview with Morelli, agents from the USPS Office of Inspector General discovered more than 1,000 pieces of mail that were allegedly discarded by Morelli inside a dumpster behind a school in Warwick.
Morelli was arraigned on the indictment back on Tuesday. According to the press release, delay or destruction of mail by a Postal Service officer or employee is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and up to three years of supervised release, a punishment Morelli is facing if convicted.
In a story that was previously reported in The Pendulum, residents on both King Street and Queen Street in East Greenwich went an extended period of time without receiving any mail. East Greenwich Oil, located on Main Street, was one of the businesses affected by the incident. Steve DeLisle, the owner of East Greenwich Oil, said he began noticing a delivery problem when a good portion of the June payments from customers weren’t coming in and only noticed it when there was a “fill-in mail carrier.” DeLisle also said, at the time, he had to send out notifications to close to 30 customers because East Greenwich Oil had not yet received the approximately $6,000 in payments from them, payments that may have been lost due to the missing mail incident.
On Tuesday, according to published reports, Morelli pleaded not guilty in federal court in Providence and was released on $10,000 secured bond. The reports also stated that Morelli had to turn in his passport and remain in the state in the event a trial takes place, which may happen in late October.