NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was convicted today for his role in scheming with at least one U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee and others to steal credit cards from the mail and then steal victims’ identities in order to use the stolen cards to make hundreds of thousands of dollars of retail and online purchases, Attorney for the United States Vikas Khanna announced.
Dashaun Brown, 28, of Newark, was convicted on four counts of the superseding indictment against him: conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, receipt and possession of stolen mail, and aggravated identity theft in connection with bank fraud, following a week-long trial before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court. Brown was acquitted on one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Dashaun Brown, Jahad Salter, 29, and Hakir Brown, 28, engaged USPS employees, including Khadijah Banks-Oneal, 31, to steal credit cards from the mail in exchange for compensation. Once they obtained the stolen cards, Dashaun Brown and his conspirators posed as the accountholders of the stolen credit cards when calling the banks that issued the cards and used personal identifying information belonging to the accountholders to activate the cards and to obtain or change information about the stolen credit cards. They then used the stolen credit cards to make purchases at retail stores in New Jersey and elsewhere, resulting in attempted losses of over $1 million.
Salter, Hakir Brown, and Banks-Oneal previously pleaded guilty for their respective roles in this scheme and are awaiting sentencing. Salter pleaded guilty on April 12, 2022, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and being a felon in possession of a firearm, and his sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 30, 2022. Hakir Brown pleaded guilty on Feb. 25, 2022, to conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and his sentencing is scheduled for July 7, 2022. Banks-Oneal pleaded guilty on March 30, 2022, to receiving bribes as a federal employee, and he is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 10, 2022.
The charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud are each punishable by a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. The charge of receipt and possession of stolen mail is punishable by a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory penalty of two years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other prison sentence imposed. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 6, 2022.
Attorney for the United States Khanna credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, under the direction of Postal Inspector of Charge Damon Wood, Philadelphia Division; and special agents of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew Modafferi, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty verdict. He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, District of New Jersey, under the direction of Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; the U.S. Secret Service, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Freaney; the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Mid-Atlantic Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew S. McKay; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina; the Livingston, New Jersey Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gary Marshuetz; the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Department of Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara; the Essex County, New Jersey Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Armando B. Fontoura; the New Providence, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Theresa A. Gazaway; and the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Jason Massimino, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara F. Merin and Elaine K. Lou of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.