MUSKEGON, Mich. -- A West Michigan postal worker pleaded guilty to victimizing a Muskegon army veteran by stealing her medications, and she'll be sentenced tomorrow.
Samantha Rose Gentz will learn her fate in federal court.
According to court records, Gentz opened at least 15 pieces of mail while working at the Muskegon Post Office last year. One of her victims, army veteran Laurel Hill, is upset because she was forced to go without prescriptions for a week. It caused complications. On top of that, she feels drug charges are in order.
"Twenty-two veterans a day kill themselves. I could have easily been one of those," Hill said.
The veteran said she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has coped with medications since leaving the Army in the mid-90s. But in fall 2015, she said her refill for Ativan never arrived from the Veterans Administration.
"I was getting down to my last little bit, and it should have been here by now," Hill said.
She said she has to sign for the package since it's a controlled substance. A note is left on her door if she's not home when the mail arrives, and she picks it up at the post office. Hill said there was no note, and the post office told her to wait a couple more days. Meantime, she called the VA for a package tracking number.
"It was tracked to the Muskegon Post Office five days prior. So it had to be there somewhere," Hill said.
After lots of back and forth with the post office there was still nothing. Hill said she ended up going one week with no meds.
"My children had to witness me going through severe depression, hallucinations, suicidal ideation," Hill recalled.
Finally, she said the post office declared it "lost or stolen," and an investigation revealed a post office employee named Samantha Rose Gentz was the alleged thief. According to federal court records, Gentz pleaded guilty in March to two counts of 'unlawfully opening mail.'
"I felt very upset. I was angry," Hill said.
Tomorrow, Hill is headed to Gentz sentencing and will speak in court about what she went through.
"I also would urge the prosecutors if they can find any drug charges that they can charge her with... she should be charged. This needs to be brought out because this needs to be stopped," she said.
Gentz could get up to 6 months in jail or a year probation. Court records show her attorney recommended that the judge sentence her to probation since she doesn't have a criminal record, and she has a 7-month-old baby. She'll be sentenced tomorrow afternoon in Kalamazoo in federal court.