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Amanda Elliott, 35, of Ellington, and her sister, Tamara Elliott, 30, of Falconer, separately pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foshio on Thursday in Buffalo to stealing a total of almost $17,000 in U.S. Postal Service funds.

The two stole the money while they separately worked as postmistresses in relief at the Ellington and Lily Dale post offices in Chautauqua County in recent years.

Both pleaded guilty to the misappropriation of postal service funds by postal service employees and face possible prison terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to $250,000 or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, Jr. said Tamara Elliott, while postmaster relief at the Ellington Post Office from December 2012 until last Sept. 5, kept $11,326 in cash payments from customers purchasing postage stamps, paying cash for post office rental boxes and purchasing U.S. Postal money orders.

Ippolito said Amanda Elliott, while working as postmaster relief at the Lily Dale office from December 2012 until last Sept. 5, stole $5,579 in postal receipts from customers who paid for cash for the purchase of postage stamps.

The sisters were separately exposed as a result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General. Both face sentencing later this year at dates to be scheduled before Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.