WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — More than 80 people have been charged and 45 were arrested in connection with a $5 million U.S. Postal Service fraud scheme in Southern California, according to USPS investigators.
The scheme allegedly involved suspects recruiting social media users and encouraging them to open bank accounts — or in some cases, use their own checking accounts — to hide the suspects’ identities when depositing forged checks. According to authorities, the $5 million fraud affected “hundreds of victims across California.”
The charges filed by the California Attorney General’s Office include grand theft, money laundering and conspiracy.
“The American public have an expectation when it comes to their mail,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale. “They expect it to be safe. Not tampered with. Not stolen. It’s the responsibility of the United States Postal Inspection Service to make sure the mail is secure. And when mail is stolen and checks are altered, as we saw in this case, Postal Inspectors are committed to ferreting out those responsible and bringing them to justice,” a USPS statement read in part.