DELRAN - A onetime postal supervisor, who oversaw the branch in his hometown and two others in Burlington County, might spend 10 years in prison, for stuffing his pockets with almost $16,000 from customer transactions in the course of a year.

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Amar D. Patel, 36, of Delran, pleaded guilty in Camden to a federal charge of embezzling, stealing, purloining, and knowingly converting to his own use, USPS funds in excess of $1,000, according to the office of Acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick.

In his plea deal, Patel admitted palming the money 12 times, from February 20, 2016, until January 14, 2017. At sentencing, scheduled for January 26, 2018, Patel also risks a fine as high as $250,000.

Patel oversaw operations at the Delran, Delanco and Riverside branches, and had access to cash deposit bags. The Postal Service Inspector General's Office, in July 2016, opened an investigation into cash-deposit shortages reported at all three.

Through surveillance cameras installed in the Riverside branch, Patel was seen tearing into a sealed deposit bag and pocketing cash on January 14, 2017, authorities said, adding that USPS and bank records for that day revealed a $1,650 shortage.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel J. Vidoni conducted the government's case. Patgel was represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Thomas Young.

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