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Danbury Postmaster Who Operated Bribery, Kickback, and Embezzlement Scheme Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

March 6, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » United States Department of Justice

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that EPHREM D. NGUYEN, 51, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for operating a bribery, kickback, and embezzlement scheme while serving as the Postmaster of the Danbury Post Office.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Nguyen was employed by the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) as the Postmaster of the Danbury Post Office in Danbury, with responsibilities that included supervising the maintenance and repair of all equipment, facilities, and vehicles assigned to the post office.  In November 2020, Nguyen required that all Danbury Post Office vehicle maintenance and repair work be performed by a certain vendor, identified in court documents as “Vendor-1,” even though Nguyen knew that another vendor already had a contract for with the Danbury Post Office for those services.  Nguyen demanded that Vendor-1 provide free vehicle maintenance and repairs for himself, one of his children, a USPS employee, and employee of Nguyen’s personal business.  In 2022, Nguyen solicited and received $90,000 in cash bribes from Michael D. Lutz, the general manager of Vendor-1.  In exchange for these bribes, Nguyen caused the USPS to overpay Vendor-1 for vehicle maintenance and repair, which Nguyen characterized as a  “raise.”  Between approximately January 2022 and February 2023, Nguyen used USPS credit cards to pay Vendor-1 more than $1 million, or approximately $760,000 more than necessary to pay for legitimate maintenance and repair work.

In addition, Nguyen embezzled more than $80,000 from the USPS by using his USPS credit cards to rent vehicles for the personal use of himself and others, and he approved more than $8,000 in fraudulent travel expense reimbursement claims for a co-worker.

Through these schemes, Nguyen defrauded the USPS of approximately $933,553.42.

Judge Underhill ordered Nguyen to make full restitution.

On October 13, 2023, Nguyen pleaded guilty to honest services wire fraud.

Nguyen, formerly of Brookfield, has been residing in Quincy, Massachusetts, while released on a $100,000 bond.  He is required to report to prison on May 30.

On February 21, 2024, Lutz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.  He is awaiting sentencing.

This investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan N. Francis.

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Danbury Postmaster Who Operated Bribery, Kickback, and Embezzlement Scheme Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

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