A New York City man was arrested and charged with stealing more than $12,000 in stimulus checks from residents mailboxes Wednesday.
Feng Chen, a Brooklyn resident, was seen looking inside medical collection bins at a closeted medical office and then walking into the gated area of a second building carrying what New York Police Department officers said looked like mail.
The officers confronted Chen and discovered checks, stimulus payments totaling more than $12,000, credit cards, and opened envelopes and letters with names of various individuals. (RELATED: New Jersey Contractor Charged With Stealing Up To 1,600 N95 Masks Intended For Hospital Donation)
“For many families, these stimulus checks are a lifeline in these difficult times and anyone who tries to cut that lifeline will face the full weight of the law,” United States Attorney Donoghue said according to the Justice Department press release.
“This Office will vigorously prosecute all those who seek to take advantage of the public health crisis. I commend the NYPD police officers for their truly outstanding work and service under difficult conditions,” Donoghue continued.
Chen is charged with theft of mail, including credit cards, multiple checks and 9 stimulus payments.
“The NYPD recognizes how the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for a variety of malicious, criminal scams. In this case, I applaud our alert detectives and federal partners for interrupting an alleged scheme to victimize New Yorkers by stealing important mail and stimulus money meant to aid them during this unprecedented crises,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.
If found guilty, Chen faces a maximum of 5 years in prison.