Two Vauxhall Men Indicted in Scheme to Steal Mail, Commit Credit Card Fraud and Defraud United States
NEWARK, N.J. – Two men were charged today for their roles in a conspiracy to possess stolen mail, including credit cards and pandemic relief credit cards, commit bank fraud, and defraud the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Jarid Brooks, 27, and his brother, Justin Brooks, 21, both of Vauxhall, New Jersey, are charged by indictment with participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain money from victim financial institutions and the U.S. Department of Treasury by obtaining credit cards issued by the victim financial institutions and Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury, which were stolen out of the U.S. mail by bribed U.S. Postal Service employees, and fraudulently using the stolen cards to make unauthorized purchases. They also are charged with aggravated identity theft. Jarid Brooks is also charged with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and heroin, and Justin Brooks is charged with possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From July 2019 to Oct. 6, 2020, Jarid Books and Justin Brooks obtained credit cards stolen from the U.S. mail by U.S. Postal Service letter carriers, and then fraudulently activated those credit cards. They used those credit cards 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 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, Jarid Brooks and Justin Brooks also schemed to fraudulently use over $11,000 of funds pre-loaded onto 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 also 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 this part of their 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.