CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Antonio Terrell Brown, 31, of Charlotte, a former Charlotte-area mail carrier, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler today and pleaded guilty to mail theft for his involvement in a Jamaican-based lottery fraud scheme, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
According to today’s guilty plea and court documents filed in the case, from 2005 to June 2016, Brown was employed as a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, and was assigned to deliver mail on a rural route in Charlotte. Court records show that in or about January 2015, Brown was approached by an individual about the possibility of diverting packages from his mail route. Brown agreed to divert the packages in exchange for cash, and provided the individual with a list of addresses to be used for the intercepted packages. According to court records, the intercepted packages contained drugs and cash, which was the proceeds of a Jamaican-based sweepstakes lottery scam.
According to the factual basis filed with his plea agreement, Brown received text messages from the individual, alerting Brown when drug- or cash-laden packages were placed in the mail for delivery to Brown’s route. These texts contained the postal service tracking numbers and delivery addresses for the packages, and instructions on how to deliver the packages to other individuals. Brown intercepted the packages and delivered them to various individuals who approached him on his route. Court records indicate that Brown received approximately $200-$250 for each package he intercepted on his mail route.
According to court records, in or about January 2016, a victim referred to in court documents as “M.A.,” mailed approximately $41,000 in cash to Peter Brown, at an address on Pinewood Drive in Charlotte. The address was one of the addresses that Brown had provided to the individual to be used for the intercepted packages. Brown intercepted the package and delivered it to someone else. Brown then falsely marked the package as “delivered.” The $41,000 contained in the intercepted package was the proceeds of a Jamaican-based lottery sweepstakes scam.
Brown agreed in court documents that the amount of loss that was known or personally foreseeable to him was between $150,000 to $250,000. The offense involved 10 or more victims, court documents indicate.
Brown is currently released on bond. The mail theft charge carries a maximum prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine. Brown has also agreed to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determine by the Court. A date for Brown’s sentencing hearing has not been set yet.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Charlotte, under the direction of Inspector in Charge David M. McGinnis, and the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Area Special Agent in Charge Paul L. Bowman, for leading the investigation into Brown.