Chicago brothers target COVID-19 stimulus checks in scheme to steal mail

Akeem Kosoko and his postal carrier brother had allegedly been stealing people’s personal funds from the U.S. mail for months when the federal government rolled out what undoubtedly seemed like the ultimate bonanza: “Trump checks.”

That’s how Kosoko referred to the federal “economic impact payments” — emblazoned with President Donald Trump’s name — that were mailed to financially struggling taxpayers during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to criminal charges recently unsealed in Chicago’s federal court.

In early May, the FBI was listening as Kosoko allegedly arranged a meeting on Chicago’s West Side to sell several stimulus checks to an associate for $5,000.

According to the charges, Ahmed Kosoko, who had been a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier since 2018, and other uncharged postal employees agreed to steal tax refunds, stimulus checks and other financial instruments from the mail in exchange for cash “and other items of value.”

Akeem Kosoko also possessed a mail carrier uniform and a special postal service “arrow key” to rifle through mailboxes on his own, which he referred to as “going fishing,” the charges alleged.

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