NEWARK, N.J. – A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mail carrier from Hudson County was arrested today for discarding mail, including 99 general election ballots sent from the County Board of Elections and intended to be delivered to West Orange residents, from his assigned routes in Orange and West Orange, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
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. He is scheduled to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
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.
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The mail had been scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 28, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2, 2020, to addresses on certain postal routes in Orange and West Orange. On the delivery dates for which mail was recovered, Beauchene was the only mail carrier assigned to deliver mail to the addresses on the recovered mail.
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 delay of mail charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The obstruction of mail charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
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. He also thanked the North Arlington Police Department, under the direction of Scott Hedenberg, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.