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Saturday, July 19, 2003



Ex-postal worker
admits to mail theft

The mail included checks and
credit cards that he intended
to use to purchase drugs


A former U.S. postal worker has admitted to stealing and possessing stolen mail, including credit cards and U.S. Treasury checks.

Walter Hayashi, 47, of Moiliili, a former distribution clerk at the Honolulu Airport Post Office, admitted yesterday he was "doing a lot of drugs" at the time and had gone without sleep for several days when the incidents occurred last July.

"I was making a lot of bad decisions at that point," he said.

Hayashi pleaded guilty to four counts, including possession of 15 or more credit cards and nine U.S. Treasury checks in the form of federal income tax refunds, each valued at more than $1,000.

In a plea agreement, he agreed that he intended to use the credit cards to obtain money for drugs or to sell to others in exchange for drugs.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nakamura said they were able to limit the loss to victims in this case when they recovered the stolen items from Hayashi. Had they not recovered them, "they would have been used," he said.

Also seized from Hayashi were Internet passwords for brokerage accounts and personal identification numbers to credit and bank cards.

Hayashi, in admitting the charges, indicated he took the mail for the purpose of turning them over to an individual he called "John."

Nakamura declined comment on whether other individuals are under investigation, but confirmed Hayashi is the only individual charged in the case.

Hayashi had a crystal methamphetamine problem, his attorney, Mark Kawata, confirmed. Hayashi is undergoing treatment at an outpatient treatment facility and should complete the program in a couple of months.

Hayashi, who remains free on bail, faces a maximum of 30 years' imprisonment when he is sentenced Dec. 8.

He was fired from his job in July 2002 shortly after postal officials discovered he was taking mail, said U.S. Postal Inspector Kathryn Derwey.

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