the staff of the Ridgewood blog
North Arlington NJ, a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier from Hudson County today admitted he discarded mail, including 99 general election ballots sent from the Essex County Board of Elections to West Orange, New Jersey, residents, from his assigned routes in Orange and West Orange, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of desertion of mails.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Beauchene admitted that on Sept. 28, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2, 2020, he discarded into dumpsters in North Arlington, New Jersey, and West Orange 1,875 pieces of mail that he was assigned to deliver to postal customers in West Orange and Orange, New Jersey. This mail included 627 pieces of first-class mail, 873 pieces of standard class mail, two pieces of certified mail, 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange, and 276 campaign flyers from local candidates for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education. Law enforcement recovered the mail on Oct. 2, 2020, and Oct. 5, 2020, and placed it back into the mail stream for delivery.
The desertion of mail charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the USPS-Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.