NYC mailman arrested for $16 million fraud

Stacks of mail accidentally left in a hotel room led to the arrest of three corrupt Queens mail carriers – and exposed a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme, officials say.

The group’s alleged ringleader forgot the damning evidence when she was forced to change rooms at the Yonkers Hotel, then rushed to get her back but was too late, authorities said, according to the Journal News on Monday.

The scheme involved a scam involving COVID-19 benefits, law enforcement officials said.

The suspected corrupt mailmen – Oscar Abreu, Rafael Grullon and Aldo Palomino Jr. – got caught up in the illegal caper in 2020 when the ringleader approached Abreu and demanded that he steal mail from the New York Department of Labor on his mail route. according to the Attorney General.

The postman's scheme involved a scam involving COVID-19 benefits, law enforcement officials said.
The postman’s scheme involved a scam involving COVID-19 benefits, law enforcement officials said.
US prosecutors

Abreau initially accepted $200 for each stolen piece of mail, but later duped his criminal bosses for $500 a package, according to a complaint unsealed last week.

According to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the accused postal worker recruited Grullon and Palomino Jr. to help steal mail items while the scheme continued.

The suspected ringleader, Yohauris Rodriguez Hernandez, helped file bogus jobless claims on behalf of hundreds of people, officials said. When the Department of Labor payouts were then sent to the unsuspecting individuals, federal officials said they were intercepted by the mail carriers on their way.

The ring filed more than 500 jobless claims worth over $16 million — with payouts totaling over $3 million, authorities said.

The operation fell through when Hernandez and another suspect left hundreds of Labor Department mail items in a Yonkers hotel room, according to the FBI.

The couple had asked to extend their stay in the room but were told it was already booked, the outlet said.

After checking into a different room in the hotel, the duo realized they had forgotten the mail in their old room and tried to get it back, but were too late, according to the report. The police had already been called. Realizing the gig was over, the duo fled but were caught down the block.

“It is a sad day that postal workers are allegedly helping other conspirators to commit identity theft,” Postal Inspector Daniel Brubaker said in a statement.

“Their actions affected hundreds of innocent victims by enabling their fellow criminals to illegally receive Covid-19 unemployment benefits through the US Post Office,” he added. “These postmen have betrayed the public and shown a total disregard for the honesty and public trust placed in them.”

The alleged ringleader had helped file false claims on behalf of hundreds of people.
The alleged ringleader had helped file false claims on behalf of hundreds of people.
US prosecutors
System members filed more than 500 claims for unemployment benefits worth over $16 million.
System members filed more than 500 claims for unemployment benefits worth over $16 million.
US prosecutors

Postal workers face a maximum of 25 years in prison if convicted. Hernandez was deported to the Dominican Republic, where she is from. It’s unclear what happened to the unnamed hotel suspect.

https://nypost.com/2022/08/15/nyc-mail-carriers-busted-for-16m-fraud-scheme/ NYC mailman arrested for $16 million fraud

JACLYN DIAZ

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