Former Columbia postal worker admits to stealing Secret Service counterfeits, buying drugs

cwinston@thestate.comApril 9, 2014 

— A 46-year-old former postal worker has pleaded guilty to taking counterfeit bills from the Secret Service and spending it on drugs, among other things.

Richard P. Houghtalen of Columbia entered a plea in federal court to passing or possessing counterfeit obligations of the United States, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles. He will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr.

According to a press release from Nettles’ office, Houghtalen’s route as postal worker included the U.S. Secret Service. Houghtalen stole the agency’s mail, opened it and took out counterfeit money. He then either sold it or used it to buy things, including drugs.

In all, he took counterfeit bills worth more than $10,000.

He faces a maximum penality of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

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