Postal workers accused of stealing Operation Santa gifts

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Marcus Solis has the story. (WABC)

Three New York postal workers have been accused of playing the Grinch and stealing gifts destined for underprivileged children by rigging the Operation Santa program where they worked.

Terry Jackson, Mahogany Strickland and Nickyeves Saintalbord are charged with writing fraudulent letters to obtain electronics, clothing and other goods from the charity.

They would write letters, pretending to be a child in need, and give them to the Operation Santa Headquarters, according to investigators.

When a 'Secret Santa' fulfilled the request, police say they would bring the gifts to the Operation Santa office where the suspects would mail them to their homes.

They left court free on bond, real life Scrooges according to federal prosecutors.

The plot was carried out at the iconic James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan, where do-gooders thought they were spreading holiday cheer, buying Christmas presents for needy kids.

But prosecutors say the postal workers wrote their own letters pretending to be kids and photocopied them dozens of times to increase the chances they would be selected.

According to the indictment, the alleged theft occurred during Christmas 2013. After a lengthy investigation, authorities eventually searched the suspects' apartments, even recovering some of the items, which include electronics, laptops, clothing and gift cards.

The charges could land the suspects in prison.

During questioning, Jackson admitted writing 4 or 5 fake letters and making 20 copies of it to increase the chances of it being selected.

Strickland admitted that she and her family wrote multiple letters requesting gifts. They received Ipads, laptops, clothing and boots.

In addition to obtaining gifts through the letter-copying scheme, the suspects also allegedly stole packages intended for underprivileged children, changing the children's addresses and having the gifts mailed to their own homes.

They admitted changing the children's addresses for Operation Santa packages approximately fifty times.

One of the suspects lives in Harlem - on St. Nicholas Avenue.
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charitypostal servicegiftsNew York City
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