NEWARK, N.J. – A U.S. Postal Service worker was arrested today and charged in connection with his role in a scheme to provide, in exchange for payment, addresses to be used to file fraudulent tax returns and divert refund checks from his mail route, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Bennie H. Haynes, 52, of Dayton, N.J., was arrested this morning by agents the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General. Haynes was charged by Complaint with one count each of theft of government property, bribery and mail theft by a postal employee. He was scheduled to appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Waldor in Newark federal court. According to the Complaint:
From June 20, 2011, to Oct. 19, 2011, Haynes met numerous times with an undercover law enforcement agent who purported to be engaged in a scheme to obtain income tax refund checks generated through the filing of phony individual income tax returns with the IRS. In exchange for payment, Haynes agreed to participate in the scheme by providing addresses located along his mail route in Somerset, N.J., to be used in connection with the filing of false tax returns and by diverting the resulting tax refund checks from the mail stream.
The charge of theft of government property carries a statutory maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The charge of bribery carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of mail theft by a postal employee carries a maximum sentence of five years, and a fine for $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the Office of Inspector General – U.S. Postal Service, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge is Rafael Medina; inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett; and special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn S. Zuniga for the investigation leading to the arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mala Ahuja Harker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.