At least $300,000 in checks were stolen from mailboxes in Bergen, Passaic and other counties by a Paterson-based ring that immediately deposited them into bank accounts, said federal authorities who arrested five accused crew members and were searching for a sixth.
Some “broke into mail collection boxes using pry bars, usually late at night…then fraudulently deposited them into various bank accounts, often within a day of being stolen,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Monday.
Besides Bergen and Passaic, the defendants stole checks from U.S. Postal Service boxes in Morris, Essex and Middlesex counties and elsewhere, Carpenito said.
Four of the defendants were arrested Monday morning and brought before a U.S. Magistrate Court judge in Newark, he said.
Carpenito identified them as:
- Ismael Alicea, Jr., 25;
- Yerrisson Garcia-Rodriguez, 23;
- Jerry Lake-Rodriguez, 25;
- Brayan Ulloa-Ulloa, 24.
A fifth, Johan Lake-Rodriguez, was is in state custody and will make his initial appearance later this week, the U.S. attorney said.
A sixth, Jefersson Quezada, remained at large.
Charges include conspiracy to commit bank fraud, possession of stolen mail and aggravated identity theft.
Carpenito credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Newark Division with the investigation leading to the arrests and charges. He also thanked the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Macurdy of Carpenito’s Criminal Division in Newark is handling the case.
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