Former Essex County Postal Employee Admits Stealing Credit Cards from Mail in Access Device Fraud Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – A former U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee today admitted stealing credit cards sent through the mail as part of a conspiracy to commit access device fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Kyle Williams, 36, of Vauxhall, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Williams was employed by the USPS. From July 2019 to August 2020, Williams stole from the mail credit cards issued by financial institutions outside of New Jersey and provided those credit cards to his conspirators, who fraudulently activated them and used them to make and attempt to make purchases without the cardholders’ authorization, including buying gift cards and electronics. The investigation to date has revealed that the victims have incurred over approximately $100,000 in intended and actual losses from fraudulent purchases made using their stolen credit cards. In addition to stealing and illegally using credit cards, Williams and his conspirators also schemed to fraudulently use over $11,000 of funds pre-loaded onto Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury and sent in the U.S. mail pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), that were stolen from the mail. The CARES Act authorized EIP payments structured as one-time refundable tax credits to certain eligible taxpayers of $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples filing jointly, and up to $500 for each qualifying child. The goal of the EIP card fraud was for the conspirators to unlawfully obtain the government funds pre-loaded onto these cards, in amounts ranging from approximately $400 to approximately $2,400.
The conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 90 months in prison in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2022.
Williams was charged with Jarid Brooks, 27, Justin Brooks, 21, and Kyjuan Hutchins, 22, also of Vauxhall, in October 2020. Jarid Brooks and Justin Brooks were charged in an indictment with conspiracy to receive stolen mail, commit bank fraud, and defraud the USPS and the U.S. Department of Treasury, theft of stolen mail, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession with intent to distribute narcotics (Jarid Brooks only), and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number (Justin Brooks only). The indictment is pending before Judge Cecchi. Hutchins has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit access device fraud and is awaiting sentencing.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Rodney M. Hopkins; special agents with the U.S. Postal Service – Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi; and special agents with the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McKay, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. She also thanked the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, the Caldwell Police Department, the Fairfield Police Department, the Boonton Police Department, and the Millburn Police Department for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine K. Lou of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations against Jarid Brooks and Justin Brooks are merely accusations, and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.