New York Cracks Down on Mail Menaces

AFTER being caught stealing mail as part of a credit-card fraud ring, Phillip Kousnetsov was sentenced last week to one month in jail and two months in a Community Correctional Center, and fined $500.

As part of a story on mail theft, the Monitor on March 20th detailed how Mr. Kousnetsov and Yuri Kosnogov broke into postal boxes on New York's Upper East Side.

In handing down the jail sentence, Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan said he wanted to impress on Kousnetsov that the judicial system takes postal theft and credit-card fraud seriously. "I am afraid you are potentially a young con artist in training," Judge Kaplan said.

A young Russian immigrant, Kousnetsov was arrested after he and Mr. Kosnogov, were caught by US Postal Inspectors with stolen mail. Kosnogov, now back in Russia, was fined $10 and given one year of unsupervised probation.

After the sentencing on Tuesday, US Postal Inspector Joe Larkin, said the arrests were "just the beginning." The Post Office and the Secret Service are currently involved in investigating mail theft.

Kousnetsov, in an interview, said he was surprised by the jail sentence and refused to comment on whether there were other people involved in the mail-theft ring.

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