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Postal worker pleads guilty in Operation Santa case

Mahogany Strickland exits a federal courthouse in Manhattan,

Mahogany Strickland exits a federal courthouse in Manhattan, Tuesday, June 15, 2015. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

One of the workers charged in June with ripping off the postal service's Operation Santa program to provide needy kids with Christmas gifts has been allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Mahogany Strickland, 23, of Manhattan, pleaded guilty Friday to carrying letters fraudulently to obtain property through Operation Santa. Prosecutors dropped more serious charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and receipt of stolen mail.

Strickland and two other workers, whose cases have not been resolved, were charged with stealing gifts from Secret Santa donors who provided the items for kids who wrote to Santa Claus at the central James Farley Post Office in Manhattan, and stuffed the files with phony Santa letters they wrote themselves.

Defense lawyer Richard Albert in a statement said, "Ms. Strickland is grateful to put this matter behind her by her guilty plea to a Class C misdemeanor and appreciates the U.S. Attorney's office recognizing that this is an appropriate resolution of this matter."

Albert said Strickland lost her job at the post office. Her sentencing has been scheduled for Feb. 15. Prosecutors did not respond to a request for comment on the plea.


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