The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier in New Jersey has been arrested for allegedly dumping mail, including 99 general election ballots.
“Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail,” the DOJ said in a statement. “Approximately 1,875 pieces of mail – including 627 pieces of first class, 873 pieces of standard class, 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 – were recovered from dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange on Oct. 2, 2020, and Oct. 5, 2020.”
The statement noted that the mail had been scheduled to be delivered on September 28, October 1, and October 2 to Orange and West Orange residents.
“The recovered mail was placed back into the mail stream for delivery to its intended recipients. Copies of the recovered mail were made and retained as evidence,” the statement added. “U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the USPS-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi, Northeast Area Field Office, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.”
Beauchene is scheduled to appear in federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor. The statement noted that, if convicted, Beauchene could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the delay of mail charge and six months and a $5,000 fine for the obstruction of mail charges.
In May, the DOJ charged a mail carrier with attempted election fraud in Pendleton County, West Virginia, for allegedly altering eight primary ballot request forms.
The DOJ said in a statement:
Thomas Cooper, a mail carrier in Pendleton County, was charged today in a criminal complaint with attempted election fraud, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Cooper, age 47, of Dry Fork, West Virginia, is charged with “Attempt to Defraud the Residents of West Virginia of a Fair Election.” According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Cooper held a U.S. Postal Service contract to deliver mail in Pendleton County. In April 2020, the Clerk of Pendleton County received “2020 Primary Election COVID-19 Mail-In Absentee Request” forms from eight voters on which the voter’s party-ballot request appeared to have been altered.
The clerk reported the finding to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, which began an investigation. The investigation found five ballot requests that had been altered from “Democrat” to “Republican.” On three other requests, the party wasn’t changed, but the request had been altered.
Cooper was responsible for the mail delivery of the three towns from which the tampered requests were mailed: Onego, Riverton, and Franklin, West Virginia. According to the affidavit, Cooper admitted to altering some of the requests, saying it was a joke.
Two months later, in July, Cooper pleaded guilty to attempted election fraud and injury to the mail.