Massachusetts postal worker indicted for credit card fraud, identity theft

A Braintree man was indicted today in federal court for stealing Discover credit cards from the mail and then using the cards to obtain money.

Gerald K. Acholonu, 31, was charged with credit card fraud, obstruction of United States mail, and of aggravated identity theft. He has been detained since his arrest on December 22, 2011.

The charges allege that between August 2010 and May 2011, credit cards issued by Discover Financial Services destined for the Northeast were stolen. The cards were stolen at some point between being Utah and reaching their expected processing at U.S. Postal Service mail-processing facilities in the Northeast.

According to the affidavit, Acholonu worked during this period at a company that sorted the mail by ZIP code between the mail’s unloading at Logan Airport and its transportation around New England by the Postal Service. In late April 2011, Acholonu was spotted leaving his employer’s restroom with a tray of U.S. mail.

Investigators searched the trash from his residence and found stolen Discover credit cards and other evidence that Acholonu was using or planning to use the Discover customers’ identities by setting up telephone accounts in their names. Investigators also obtained surveillance photographs from ATMs indicating that Acholonu had used some of the cards to withdraw money.

If convicted, Acholonu faces up to 17 years of in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss, whichever is highest.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Rafael Medina, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Area Field Office; and Robert Bethel, Postal Inspector in Charge of the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Boston Division, made the announcement Wednesday.