Four men have been arrested and charged for allegedly stealing $450,000 in checks from U.S. Postal Service mail collection boxes throughout northern New Jersey, announced U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito on Wednesday.
Aneuris Henriquez-Lopez, 24; Eleazer Peralta, 19; Fernando Santiago, 26; and Rikinson Rodriguez-Sanchez, 25, all of Paterson, were each charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
From February-June 2018, the four men broke into mail collection boxes in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, and Middlesex counties using pry bars late at night to steal checks. Authorities said they then deposited the stolen checks into various bank accounts through automated teller machines (ATMs).
Proceeds from the checks were withdrawn before the fraud was discovered, authorities said. Some deposited the stolen checks into bank accounts that were under their names. Others deposited them into accounts held in the name of third parties. Many of the accounts were used by multiple co-conspirators to further the scheme.
Some of the bank accounts were setup specifically to cash stolen checks, authorities said. Authorities used ATM surveillance footage to identify the suspects.
Each of the four face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1 million fine.
Authorities previously arrested six other people in the same scheme. Ismael Alicea, Jr., 25; Yerrisson Garcia-Rodriguez, 23; Jerry Lake-Rodriguez, 25; Johan Lake-Rodriguez, 26; Brayan Ulloa-Ulloa, 24; and Jefersson Quezada, 21, were arrested last September. Authorities at the time said the six people stole $300,000 in checks.
Correction: A previous version of this report erroneously stated the FBI investigated the case, when in fact, it was the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that conducted the investigation.