A man charged with pirating Christmas packages from porches in Yonkers was part of a crew that stole, altered and cashed $600,000 in checks mailed in Passaic, Morris, Essex and Somerset counties the past 10 months, federal authorities said Friday.
Claude Anthony Burnett, 23, who was captured by U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents, now faces charges that can bring way more serious consequences than package snatching.
Meanwhile, victims were left trying to sort out their finances.
From at least February of this year until just last month, Burnett and others fished envelopes containing checks from mailboxes in four North Jersey counties, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Friday.
They then altered the checks and deposited them into bank accounts that they controlled, he said.
“To date, the investigation has identified over 140 checks with a face value of over $600,000 that have been stolen, altered, and deposited in accounts controlled by Burnett and his conspirators,” Carpenito said.
Burnett, of the Bronx, made headlines when he and an underage accomplice were caught on video stealing packages from porches during last year’s Christmas season.
They were arrested when they drove the wrong way on Central Park Avenue and crashed into half-dozen parked cars, police said.
Burnett scheduled for a video-conference first appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Newark Friday afternoon,
Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Newark Division with the investigation leading to the charges, which are being handled for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vijay Dewan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.
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