Sentencing was postponed Monday for former post office employee Herbert Conolly after Magistrate Valdis Foldats questioned the contents of a victim impact statement.
The magistrate said it appeared that several customers had entrusted payments for their utilities to the post office, but had been served with disconnection notices. He asked that the matter be looked into.
Conolly, 34, had worked as a senior customer service officer, managing the counter and supervising three junior officers.
In August, he pleaded guilty to false accounting and breach of trust. The false accounting was the production of a check dated Oct. 15, 2016, on an account Conolly knew had been closed since 2014. The breach of trust was in connection with the duties of his office, by removing public funds.
At the beginning of the sentencing hearing, Crown counsel Greg Walcolm explained that Conolly was issued an “indent” (a cash float) for his job and he was required to provide a balance on a daily basis. Later he was permitted to balance the indent on a weekly basis.
He knew that any violation would result in termination of his job, Mr. Walcolm pointed out. He also knew that the indent was not to be used for any personal purpose.
On Oct. 31, 2016, the deputy post master general discovered that Conolly’s indent had not been balanced since Sept. 27, 2016. She also discovered that five other employees had failed to balance their indents.
Checks were made and on Nov. 3, Conolly was found to be short $1,619.27. A check for $3,400 was included in the items balanced. The check was drawn from the account of Kitchens and Bath Solutions, in which Conolly was a principal. The account had been closed since 2014.
Conolly was asked why a check of such antiquity was included and he said a senior member of staff had given him permission to breach the policy of the postal service. He was required to produce a receipt evidencing the deposit of the check, but failed to do so.
Asked why he had not balanced his indent for a certain date, he initially indicated he had done so, but failed to produce it. He then produced to his supervisor a balance sheet that was fraudulent.
On Nov. 7, 2016, he requested a meeting and asked that it be recorded. He said he had breached the public trust by taking $4,300 and replacing those funds with a check drafted for that amount while knowing that the account was closed.
He said he had done so hoping to replace the funds. He explained that he had failed to pay a sub-contractor who had worked for his company and so he entrusted the sub-contractor with his motor vehicle. He was made aware that the person was at a well-known pawn agency trying to pawn the vehicle.
The check was deposited and refused. Disciplinary proceedings commenced, Mr. Walcolm said. Conolly was dismissed on Nov. 17, 2016 and up to Dec. 1, 2016 had not been able to make any restitution.
It was then that the magistrate asked what other parties had been affected by Conolly’s actions, referring to the disconnection notices. He noted that those matters had been reported to police at the same time that the check had been reported.
Mr. Walcolm said he would need to find out what had happened at the beginning of the investigation.
Defense attorney Jonathon Hughes pointed out that the matter was sent to police over a year ago. The defendant wanted to get on with his life and his new job. Mr. Hughes suggested that the court proceed to sentence that day.
The magistrate adjourned the case until Monday, Dec. 11, to give Mr. Walcolm time to look into the matter.