Three Queens mail carriers are alleged to have participated in a COVID-19 benefits scam.
One of the carriers began stealing mail on their postal route. This allowed the scheme’s ringleader to file false unemployment benefit claims in the names of hundreds of people. When the Department of Labor sent payouts, the mail carriers simply intercepted the checks along the route.
They left hundreds of pieces of mail in a hotel room by accident, and the next guest called the police.
The charges are:
- Conspiracy to commit theft
- Receipt of stolen mail
- Theft of mail by a postal officer or employee
- Conspiracy to receive bribes
In a similar case, US Postal Workers stole and resold thousands of dollars of credit cards along their routes. In New Jersey, a woman helped steal $565K in tax refund checks from the mail.
Stolen checks are often “washed” to change the name on the check so that the thief may make a fraudulent deposit, or cash the check at a check cashing location.
Any form of identity theft or fraud are serious matters, especially when they involve the abuse of a trusted position. Now that the justice department is aware that a number of mail carriers are engaging in this behavior you can expect them to be watching this position with greater scrutiny than ever.
Law enforcement is already on the lookout for potential Covid 19 fraud.
Mail theft is a federal crime.
If you are accused of mail theft you could be facing up to five years in federal prison. Receipt of stolen mail is good for another five years. A great deal of mail theft is internal, coming from postal service employees just like in these two cases.
Conspiracy is also a very serious offense and is often charged alongside other crimes in federal criminal cases.
That means if you are a US Postal Service Employee you could be vulnerable to accusations this holiday season. People are watching out for stolen or missing mail.
There has been a 400% spike in postal robberies since 2019. Many people are advising people to avoid sending checks, cash, or gift cards in the mail this holiday season.
If you’ve been charged with mail theft or conspiracy you’ll need an experienced federal defense attorney. Reach out to Koch Law to schedule a free case review today.