WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Feng Chen faces theft charges after stealing stimulus checks, credit cards, opened envelopes and letters bearing the names of other people.
- Two of the intended recipients of the stimulus checks deny granting the defendant permission to access the government cash.
- Feng Chen faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) busted a man for raiding mailboxes and stealing more than $12,000 in coronavirus stimulus checks or Economic Impact Payments from the US Treasury Department.
Feng Chen, 31 years old, was hauled before the federal court on Wednesday, facing charges of theft of mail. The federal prosecutors filed the criminal complaint against the defendant.
The suspect was first put under investigation after he was sighted inside a medical collection bin at a closed medical office in Sunset Park on Tuesday, ransacking the mailbox mounted at the door of the apartment complex nearby, the police department reported.
Feng Chen was apprehended by the police minutes after leaving the building, carrying mail. Per the police report, the defendant was arrested after the police on the scene “observed a bulge” in his jacket pocket “and saw what appeared to be checks,” the prosecutors said.
The Police Department puts into evidence nine stimulus checks, as well as other checks, credit cards, opened envelopes and letters bearing the names of other people.
The police department says that the defendant has changed his story thrice since the first interview. First, Feng Chen said that he was at the building to deliver food. Next, he claimed that he was waiting for someone, and then said that he was a building resident there. The open investigation also directed the police to a prior identity theft case linked to the defendant.
The police department questioned two of the intended recipients of the stimulus checks. Both deny granting permission to access the government cash issued under their names.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard P. Donoghue warned the public following the incident. “For many families, these stimulus checks are a lifeline in these difficult times and anyone who tries to cut that lifeline will face the full weight of the law.”
“Postal Inspectors and their law enforcement partners have no tolerance for the theft of mail, especially during these unprecedented times,” USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett added.
Feng Chen faces up to a five-year prison sentence if convicted.
Source: New York Post