Four men stole $450,000 in checks from mailboxes in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, and Middlesex counties, said federal authorities who caught three and were seeking the fourth.
“Some of the mail collection boxes were broken into with the use of pry bars, usually late at night,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Wednesday.
Although the checks weren’t made payable to them, the defendants deposited the checks at ATMs and then “withdrew the proceeds from the accounts before the fraud was discovered,” usually in less than 24 hours, Carpenito said.
Charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud were Aneuris Henriquez-Lopez, 24, Eleazer Peralta, 19, Fernando Santiago, 26, and Rikinson Rodriguez-Sanchez, 25, all of Paterson.
According to a criminal complaint on file in U.S. District Court, the crew operated from February to June 2018.
Among the thefts, the complaint alleges, the defendants:
- Swiped two checks – one for $11,000 and another for $6,000 -- from a mail collection box in Oakland;
- Stole two checks – one for $8,300 and another for $3,000 – from a mail collection box in Livingston;
- Stole an $800 check from a mail collection box in Hackensack.
Rodriguez-Sanchez remained at large early Wednesday afternoon.
The other three had first appearances scheduled later in the day in U.S. District Court in Newark.
Carpenito credited the U.S. Postal Inspection Service with the investigation leading to the charges and thanked the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance.
Handling the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy of Carpenito’s Criminal Division in Newark.
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