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Union County Man Admits Role in Stealing Mail, Credit Card Fraud

By metrostaff on
Union County

“ By: Yuritza Arroyo

Federal authorities announced that a Union County man admitted his role in a scheme to receive stolen credit cards and pandemic relief debit cards sent through the mail, commit bank fraud, and defraud the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

According to officials, Justin Brooks, 23, of Vauxhall, pleaded guilty on March 15, to three counts of an indictment charging him with:

One count of conspiracy to commit mail theft and bank fraud and to defraud the U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Department of the Treasury; one count of receiving stolen mail; and one count of bank fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From July 2019 to Oct. 6, 2020, Books and his conspirators obtained credit cards stolen from the U.S. mail from the U.S.

Court documents state Postal Service letter carrier fraudulently activated those credit cards and then used those credit cards to attempt to make purchases without the cardholder’s authorization.

The victims have incurred approximately $70,000 in losses from fraudulent purchases made using their stolen credit cards.

According to authorities, Brooks also schemed to fraudulently use over $13,000 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 also stolen from the mail.

Authorities say 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 obtain the government funds pre-loaded onto these cards unlawfully.

According to officials, the conspiracy and possession of mail theft charges are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000.

Officials say the bank fraud charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $1 million.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 20.

According to authorities, Brooks was initially charged with Jarid Brooks, 29, Kyle Williams, 37, and Kyjuan Hutchins, 23, also of Vauxhall, in October 2020.

Jarid Brooks’ case is pending before Judge Cecchi, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Williams has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit access device fraud and was sentenced.

Hutchins has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit access device fraud and is awaiting sentencing.