A Union County man pleaded guilty to charges related to a scheme involving stolen credit cards and pandemic relief debit cards, defrauding the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Justin Brooks, 23, of Vauxhall, New Jersey, admitted his role in the scheme and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to three counts of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit mail theft and bank fraud, receiving stolen mail, and bank fraud.
According to court documents, Brooks and his co-conspirators obtained credit cards stolen from the U.S. mail from a postal worker, activated them fraudulently, and used them to make unauthorized purchases. The victims of the fraud have incurred losses of around $70,000.
Brooks also schemed to fraudulently use over $13,000 of funds pre-loaded onto Economic Impact Payment (EIP) cards issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury and sent in the mail pursuant to the CARES Act, that were also stolen from the mail.
The goal of the scheme was for the conspirators to unlawfully obtain the government funds pre-loaded onto these cards.
The charges of conspiracy and possession of mail theft are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000.
The bank fraud charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $1 million.
Brooks is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20, 2023. The case against Jarid Brooks, Kyle Williams, and Kyjuan Hutchins, who were also charged in connection with the scheme, is pending.
Williams has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced, while Hutchins has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Jarid Brooks’ case is still ongoing, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.