Malliotakis, Meng Push Bipartisan Bill to Help USPS Crack Down on Recent Spike in Mail Theft
(NEW YORK, NY) – Following a rise in stolen checks from neighborhood post offices and mailboxes, Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) and Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06) have introduced bipartisan legislation to enhance the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) ability to crack down on postal crime.
Specifically, The USPS Subpoena Authority Act would strengthen USPS’ ability to crack down on criminal organizations driving mail theft through administrative subpoenas. With these subpoenas, USPS could collect more information related to the financial fraud associated with mail theft, including bank records and surveillance videos, to build mail theft cases against criminal organizations that meet prosecutorial thresholds.
“Mail theft and check fraud not only violate an individual’s privacy and security but also threaten the integrity of our financial and postal systems as a whole,” Congresswoman Malliotakis said. “By giving USPS the tools and resources necessary to quickly gather information and prosecute the criminal organizations responsible, we help to protect the financial well-being of our constituents and send a clear message that this type of criminal behavior will no longer be tolerated.”
“From stolen checks to other financial fraud, I have heard from many constituents who have been victims of despicable mail crimes that have resulted in them losing their hard-earned money, and increasing their chances of identity theft, bad credit ratings, and other negative impacts,” said Congresswoman Meng. “Congress must ensure that the Postal Service has all the resources it needs to stop thieves from stealing mail, and this legislation to give USPS the power to more effectively go after organized mail theft syndicates would be another crucial tool for the agency to use in addressing the problem. I thank Congresswoman Malliotakis for partnering with me on this effort.”
According to a February 2023 alert from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an arm of the U.S. Department of Treasury, reports of check fraud filed by banks nearly doubled to 680,000 from 350,000 in 2021. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) said it received more than 299,000 complaints of mail theft from March 2020 through February 2021, a 161 percent increase compared with the same period a year earlier.
Mail theft and check fraud cases have also increased in New York. In September 2022, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and USPIS arrested nine individuals, some of whom were postal employees, in connection with a years-long $1.3 million scheme to steal credit cards from the mail and use them to defraud several national financial institutions, credit card companies, and major retailers.
In January 2023, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, and USPIS announced the arrest of Gennady Galker, an identity thief who stole more than $30,000 in checks from Brooklynites, including the Office of Unclaimed Funds and the Jewish Communal Fund. Galker’s arrest coincided with the sentencing of a former East Flatbush postal worker who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for stealing $4 million in blank money orders from the Rugby Post Office on Utica Ave.
“It’s a disgrace what’s going on with mail theft in our community,” said Paul Leonardos, a Brooklyn resident and Business Owner who has twice been a victim of mail theft. “After I became a victim, I received no response about what was going on until I reached out to Congresswoman Malliotakis’ office. I appreciate her staff’s work to put me in touch with federal investigators and I’m pleased to see she’s introducing legislation to give USPS some teeth to go after these fraudsters.”
In June 2022, a check of mine was stolen by someone in our local post office,” said Brooklyn resident Raymond Aalbue. “The amount of the check was changed and cashed. Congresswoman Malliotakis worked quickly to put me in contact with a special agent from the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General in
Washington D.C. who answered the many questions that arose. Thanks also to the 68th Precinct for their diligence concerning this theft. It is good to hear that those responsible will be held accountable.”
“I thank Congresswoman Meng for all she is doing to stop people from stealing our mail,” said Catherine Venis, a Queens resident who has also been the victim of mail theft. “All possible tools should be at the Postal Service’s disposal, and I thank her for introducing this new and important legislation to target criminal organizations more effectively.”
For more information on the USPS Subpoena Authority Act, click HERE.
Banner Image: US Postal Service Delivery Vehicle. Image Credit – Joel Moysuh