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Postal Inspectors Investigate Porn Mail Scheme

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Aug 2, 2004 10:56 AM PDT    Text size: 
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Up to 40 residents have received unsolicited porn along with a moneymaking scheme in their home mailboxes, Iowa police reported Monday. Meanwhile, postal inspectors are investigating what appears to be a violation of federal laws.

Davenport Postmaster Dan Foley said that sending pornographic pictures via the U.S. Postal Service is a federal offense. In addition, Foley said that there are legal problems with the way the envelopes were mailed.

“It looks as though postage was not paid," Foley stated. "It looks as though the person took old letters and cut out the postage portion of them, and then pasted that postage on the envelopes containing the porn.”

Lt. Don Gale of the Davenport Police Department told XBiz that as far as he knew, the department was not investigating the case. Since this appeared to be a violation of federal postal laws, Gale referred XBiz to the U.S. post office in Davenport. The latter referred the matter to U.S. postal inspectors based in Des Moines, Iowa’s capital city.

According to “The Online Adult Entertainment Webmaster Legal Resource Guide” by attorneys Frederick Lane and Greg Piccionelli, there are many federal statutes that govern the mailing and shipping of obscene matter.

For example, 18 United States Code, Chapter 71 – Obscenity, Section 1461, states that people convicted of “Mailing…Every obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent, filthy, or vile article, matter, thing, device, or substance… shall be fined… or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, for the first such offense.”

A second offense can lead to a 10-year sentence, plus a fine.

In addition to the sexually explicit images, recipients also got a letter claiming that the author needed money and had concocted a scheme to raise funds by selling pornography.

One of the individuals who received the porn and letter in her mailbox was crime scene technician Diane Schneider, an 18-year law enforcement veteran. Schneider said she took the porn and solicitation for money to the Davenport police station.

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