Postal official to be tried for embezzlement

November 05, 1999|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

The former Havre de Grace postmaster is awaiting trial on charges that he stole almost $60,000 in money orders from the Havre de Grace post office, federal officials said yesterday.

John J. Vitak, 53, is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court Nov. 19 to face trial on one count of embezzlement of postal money orders. Stephen Schenning, first assistant in the United State's Attorney's office, said Vitak is accused of having stolen numerous money orders totaling $58,616 from January 1996 to August 1998.

Vitak, who resigned from his job six months ago, had been placed on leave in January after a financial review by postal officials found irregularities in the handling of funds at the post office.

A postal employee for more than 25 years, Vitak oversaw delivery, administrative operations and the finances of the 37-employee post office.

Thomas Boyle, a postal inspector and public information officer, said the investigation came as a result of a routine audit of the facility's finances. The charges of embezzlement did not involve mail handling, Boyle said.

Officials said Vitak faces a maximum fine of $250,000 and five years imprisonment.

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