PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Sam Wolo, 21, of Philadelphia, PA; Bruno Nyanue, 20, also of Philadelphia, PA; and Gransae Manue, 20, of Clifton Heights, PA; were arrested and charged by Indictment with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit mail theft, possession of stolen mail, and robbery of a postal carrier. The charges arise from the defendants’ alleged schemes to steal checks from the United States mail, and to then fraudulently alter and deposit the stolen checks.
The Indictment specifically alleges that, on December 22, 2021, Wolo, Nyanue, and Manue forcibly robbed a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier of his Arrow Key, a USPS key used by letter carriers to access USPS blue collection boxes along their routes. The Arrow Key stolen by Wolo, Nyanue, and Manue opened USPS collection boxes in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, which the defendants used repeatedly to steal mail from boxes in that area.
As alleged in the Indictment, between December 2021 and February 2022, the co-conspirators “washed” and altered checks they stole from the mail that belonged to victims who had mailed checks in Drexel Hill. The defendants altered the stolen checks to make them payable to third parties, often in amounts greater than the checks’ original value, without the victims’ knowledge or consent. As part of the scheme, the defendants deposited the fraudulently washed and altered checks into those third-party accounts, and in at least some instances, withdrew some of the fraudulently deposited funds. The Indictment further alleges that approximately 370 stolen checks and nine stolen money orders were recovered from defendant Wolo’s apartment. The Arrow Key stolen by the defendants from the USPS letter carrier in Drexel Hill, as well as two stolen checks and two money orders, were also recovered from defendant Wolo’s vehicle. Altogether, the value of stolen checks and money orders recovered from defendant Wolo’s apartment and car totaled more than $171,000.
“The United States Postal Service provides an essential service to nearly every American, often conveying income, bills and expenses which are the basis of many livelihoods,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “If you choose to tamper with or steal U.S. mail for any reason, you can be assured that the federal government will conduct an intensive investigation and aggressive prosecution, as we intend to in this case.”
“People continue to use and rely on the U.S. Mail to pay bills, conduct business, send letters and cards, and send and receive goods, among other things,” said Raimundo Marreo, Inspector in Charge of the Philadelphia Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “They should be able do these things without fear that their mail will be stolen. Investigating mail theft and violence against mail carriers are core missions of the Postal Inspection Service and we will work tirelessly, with our partners in local law enforcement and in state and federal prosecutors offices, to investigate and prosecute individuals who commit violence against Postal employees and who steal the mail. I want to thank the United States Attorney’s Office and investigators from the Upper Darby Police Department for their help in investigating and prosecuting this case against these three individuals.”
If convicted, defendant Wolo faces a maximum of 236 years in prison, defendant Nyanue faces a maximum of 64 years in prison, and defendant Manue faces a maximum of 172 years in prison. All three defendants could face fines of at least $3 million, with defendant Wolo facing a possible fine of up to $8.5 million.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Upper Darby Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Eileen Castilla Geiger.
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.