Essex County Man Admits Using Credit Cards Stolen from U.S. Mail to Attempt to Defraud Banks of Over $300,000
NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted scheming with at least one U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee and others to steal credit cards from the mail and use the stolen cards for hundreds of thousands of dollars of retail and online purchases, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna announced.
Hakir Brown, 27, Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Hakir Brown, Jahad Salter, 25, and Dashaun Brown, 31, engaged USPS employees, including Khadijah Banks Oneal, 31, to steal credit cards from the mail in exchange for compensation. Once they obtained the stolen cards, Hakir Brown and his conspirators fraudulently posed as the accountholders of the stolen credit cards when calling the banks that issued the cards and used personal identifying information belonging to the accountholders to obtain or change information about the stolen credit cards. They then used the stolen credit cards to make purchases at retail stores in New Jersey and elsewhere, including New York and online, resulting in attempted losses of over $300,000.
Several of the USPS employees and individuals who participated in the scheme have been charged by complaint for their roles in the scheme, including, Banks Oneal, who worked at a mail processing plant facility in Kearny, New Jersey; another USPS employee, Ashley Taylor, who worked at a post office in New York; Salter; Adeeb Salih, 29, of East Orange, and Yaseen Salih, 24, of Iselin, New Jersey. Dashaun Brown was indicted by a grand jury on Feb. 9, 2022, and his arraignment is scheduled for March 3, 2022, before Judge McNulty. The charges and allegations against these other individuals are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for July 7, 2022.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Khanna credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service under the direction of Acting Inspector of Charge Raimundo Marrero, Newark Division; and special agents of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, District of New Jersey, under the direction of Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; the U.S. Secret Service, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Freaney; the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Mid-Atlantic Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew S. McKay; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina; the Livingston, New Jersey Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gary Marshuetz; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Department of Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara; the Essex County, New Jersey Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura; the New Providence, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Theresa A. Gazaway; and the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Jason Massimino, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.