By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
A Post Office supervisor in Somers Point is accused of using postal credit cards to rack up about $65,000 in personal expenses ranging from home decor products to shampoo to food.
Austin T. Mahan, 42, of Cape May Court House, misappropriated postal funds for about six months in 2022 and 2023 while working as a customer service supervisor at the Somers Point and Sea Isle City post offices, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Authorities said Mahan misused U.S. Postal Service credit cards to make personal purchases at a number of retail stores in New Jersey.
The purchases included tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards as well as home decor items, home renovation materials, power and handheld tools and tool storage equipment, authorities said.
He also bought personal items such as a Dyson cordless vacuum, LED fog light bulbs for his vehicle, batteries, shampoo, shaving cream and food products, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
In February 2023, a Post Office employee in Sea Isle alerted authorities that “a large volume of suspected fraudulent transactions” had occurred on one or both of Mahan’s postal credit cards, including more than $20,000 in purchases at three retail stores, according to a criminal complaint outlining the charges.
Investigators reviewed surveillance video showing Mahan buying personal items at retail stores using the postal service credit cards, the complaint stated.
“The vast majority of these purchase transactions appeared to be unsupported by a legitimate USPS business need, and Mahan had not received USPS supervisory approval for these transactions, as was required by the USPS policy regarding the use of USPS Purchase Cards,” according to the complaint.
The charge of misappropriating postal funds is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Mahan may also face a maximum potential fine of $250,000 or a sum equal to the amount of money is he accused of misappropriating, the news release said.
Mahan appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Danio in Camden federal court on Tuesday and was released on $50,000 unsecured bond.
Mahan is represented by assistant federal public defender Thomas Young, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday after the charges were announced.