NEWARK, NJ – Six Paterson men have been charged with taking part in a scheme to break into U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail collection boxes throughout northern New Jersey, which includes locations in Morris County, and steal the mail—particularly, checks—inside, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Ismael Alicea, Jr., 25, Yerrisson Garcia-Rodriguez, 23, Jerry Lake-Rodriguez, 25, Johan Lake-Rodriguez, 26, Brayan Ulloa-Ulloa, 24, and Jefersson Quezada, 21, are each charged with one-count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Each defendant, except Alicea, is also charged with one-count of bank fraud. Garcia-Rodriguez, Jerry Lake-Rodriguez, Johan Lake-Rodriguez, and Quezada are additionally charged with one-count of aggravated identity theft. Alicea and Johan Lake-Rodriguez are charged with possession of stolen mail.
According to the complaint, the defendants allegedly stole checks from USPS mail collection boxes in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, and Middlesex counties, and elsewhere, and fraudulently deposited them into various bank accounts, often within a day of being stolen. Some defendants broke into mail collection boxes using pry bars, usually late at night. Law enforcement officers have identified at least $300,000 worth of stolen checks that were deposited into the bank accounts.
Four of the defendants were arrested this morning and made their initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Joseph Dickson in Newark federal court. Johan Lake-Rodriguez is in state custody and will make his initial appearance later this week. Jefersson Quezada remains at large.
The conspiracy and bank fraud charges each carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a penalty of a mandatory term of two years in prison, to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed.