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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Matilda Butts Sentenced For Misappropriation Of Postal Funds

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula on March 26, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, MATILDA BUTTS was sentenced to 2 years' probation with 3 months house arrest and $13,731.97 in restitution.

Butts was sentenced in connection with her December 2013 guilty plea to misappropriation of postal funds. In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, Butts began working for the Eureka Post Office as a mail clerk in December, 2008. During her career, she served as an Officer in Charge and Postmaster at several other offices as well. Pertinent to this case, Butts served as Postmaster for the Eureka Post Office from November 10, 2007, through July 23, 2010.

On September 10, 2010, the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General ("USPS OIG") received notice of several financial irregularities regarding bulk-mail transactions that were never processed at the Eureka Post Office. Further investigation revealed that Butts failed to document certain permit mailing operations, ignored process controls, failed to enter bulk-mailing transactions into the required computer programs, and improperly stored money order and check payments in her desk.

Specifically, the USPS OIG discovered a Daily Financial Report from May 15, 2009, indicating that Butts failed to properly credit a money order, bulk-mailing payment in the amount of $534.58, which had been received from a local business that regularly paid for bulk mail using non-postal money orders. Butts used the money to buy $534.58 in stamp stock and postal supplies for herself.

When dealing with other money orders provided by the local business referenced in the preceding paragraph, Butts would either record them as being payments for stamps, which she would then take for herself, or record them as Eureka Post Office deposits, in which case she would steal the equivalent amount in cash from the Post Office. On other occasions, Butts would record personal checks or Postal Service money orders as deposits, again, stealing the equivalent amount in cash.

On November 15, 2012, agents from the USPS OIG conducted a non-custodial interview of Butts at her residence in Fortine, Montana. During the interview, Butts admitted to embezzling Postal Service funds and explained how and why she did it. She also informed the agents that she used some of the money to pay higher wages to a "casual" Postal Service employee ("casual" means a temporary postal employee who works at will, has no union rights, has no set position or usual duties, and receives no benefits other than pay). Butts also executed a handwritten, sworn statement in which she discussed how much money she had embezzled from the Eureka Post Office. Butts stole approximately $13,731.97 in cash, stamps, postal products, and services between January 30, 2009 and July 19, 2010. The final analysis showed that Butts failed to properly record at least 28 bulk mailing transactions.

Updated January 14, 2015