A Postal Service mail carrier faces up to five-and-a-half years in prison after allegedly dumping nearly 1,900 pieces of mail, including almost 100 mail-in ballots, in dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Wednesday.
Authorities charged Nicholas Beauchene, 26, with one count of delay, secretion or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail.
The New Jersey Globe first reported on Sunday that a large quantity of mail, including official ballots for the upcoming general election, was found tossed in the trash.
Beauchene allegedly dumped 1,875 pieces of mail headed for West Orange, including 99 vote-by-mail ballots and 276 campaign flyers, in dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange.
The flyers were for local candidates seeking seats on West Orange’s Council and Board of Education.
Authorities also recovered 627 pieces of first class mail, 873 pieces of standard mail and two pieces of certified mail.
The mail was recovered and delivered, though the recipients were not told their mail spent some time in a trash receptacle.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said Beauchene was the only mail carrier assigned to deliver mail to the addresses found on the dumpster mail.
He faces penalties of up to five-and-a-half years in prison and fines of up to $255,000.
Beauchene is set to appear in a Newark federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Waldor will later Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Merin, of the office’s Special Prosecutions Division, will argue the case for the government.
The USPS Office of the Inspector General launched a probe into the udmped mail shortly after it was discovered last week. That investigation, which preceded Beauchene’s arrest, was led by Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi.
The North Arlington Police Department aided the investigation.beauchene.complaint_0