A New York postal worker is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of Costco rewards certificates and cashing them in for himself.
Long Island resident Gerome Fowler, age 32, of North Babylon in Suffolk County, was arrested Monday, Aug. 1 on multiple charges relating to the alleged scheme.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office said between December 2021 and May 2022, Fowler used over $6,000 of stolen Costco reward checks that should have been delivered to Costco customers.
The thefts allegedly occurred while Fowler worked as a delivery carrier based out of the Bay Shore Post Office, located on Fifth Avenue.
“This defendant allegedly abused his position as a postal employee to violate the private mail of unsuspecting residents and steal their reward funds for his own personal use,” said Suffolk County DA Raymond Tierney.
“We stand with our law enforcement partners to deliver the message that, if you misuse your position to exploit victims and steal other people’s property, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Prosecutors said on one occasion, Fowler stole a check valued at $126 that he was supposed to deliver to a resident on his mail route. He allegedly used the funds several days later to purchase items from Costco.
Video surveillance captured Fowler redeeming the reward checks at Costco stores throughout Suffolk County and converting them for his own private use, prosecutors said.
He was finally busted when a Costco employee noticed that he had been redeeming numerous reward certificates and notified store management.
A subsequent investigation revealed that more than $70,000 in Costco reward certificates were redeemed in connection with Fowler’s membership account since February 2020.
“This amount is grossly disproportionate to whatever rewards Fowler would actually be entitled to based upon purchases made at Costco under this membership account,” the Suffolk County DA’s Office said.
Fowler was arraigned in Central Islip on Tuesday, Aug. 2 on charges of grand larceny, petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and official misconduct.
He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Thursday, Aug. 25.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office urged anyone who believes they may be a victim in the case to come forward and notify Costco that their funds may have been stolen.
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