A postal worker is facing charges for stealing almost $500,000 from the U.S. government in tax refund checks. In all this postal worker stole 72 refund checks from the IRS and while not cashing them himself, he handed them off to someone who did.
He was handed $50 bucks a piece for the refund checks, which means this mailman only pocketed $3,400 for the almost $443,000 worth of checks. Earl Champagne, a 47-year-old man who hails from Willingboro, said he took these checks between April and July of 2014.
In a somewhat sophisticated arraignment, authorities said that Champagne worked for two co-conspirators and all that is known about them is one lives in Maple Shade and the other comes from Merchant, reports News Oxy on April 30. Neither were named on the court documents.
Champagne would keep the checks and hand them over to these two people instead of delivering them to the homes or he would notify either of his two co-conspirators he left them in the mailbox. Then the crooks would retrieve them from the address. These two people that Champagne was working with told him the checks they wanted would be addressed to people with “Spanish names.”
Authorities said that the money didn’t go to people living in Pennsauken, this was all part of bigger scam. These crooks would file income tax checks using stolen names from Puerto Rico residents. Folks in Puerto Rico don’t file federal income tax if they made money on the island. They only have to file if they made money working in one of the states.
This well organized scam would use the identity of residents of Puerto Rico who were unaware their identity was stolen, to file fraudulent tax returns. Then the crooks bribe mail carriers like Champaign to watch out for these checks that they had sent to an address or addresses along a carrier’s route. This type of scam costs the government $2 billion a year.
Champaign, who was a mailman from 1995 to 2014, pleaded guilty in court to charges of theft of U.S. mail and stealing government money. According to DB Techno News, each of the charges carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. His fate will be decided at his August 3 court date at his sentencing in Camden District Court.