Hartford letter carrier pleads guilty in identity theft case

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that MANUEL QUILES, 41, of Wayland Street, Hartford, pleaded guilty yesterday, June 1, before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport to one count of embezzlement of mail by an employee of the United States Postal Service.

According to court documents and statements made in court, beginning in January 2010, QUILES, a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service, participated in a scheme to steal tax refund checks issued by the United States Treasury. As part of the scheme, QUILES provided other scheme participants with a list of addresses located on his mail carrier route in Hartford. The scheme participants then fraudulently caused the U.S. Treasury to issue and mail tax refund checks to the addresses identified by QUILES. Instead of delivering the tax refund checks to the addresses that he had previously identified, QUILES took possession of the checks and delivered them to other scheme participants. QUILES was paid $300 for each check he took and provided to others.

On March 7, 2011, QUILES possessed 11 envelopes containing federal tax refund checks that he stole from the U.S. mail. As part of his plea agreement, QUILES has acknowledged that the U.S. Treasury has suffered losses of between $70,000 and $120,000 as a result of his involvement in the scheme.

QUILES is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall on August 13, 2011, at which time QUILES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

This matter stems from a coordinated effort among various United States Attorney’s Offices and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice to combat a scheme to use stolen Puerto Rican identities to file fraudulent federal tax refund claims. These offices included the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Pennsylvania, Southern District of New York, District of Connecticut, and the District of Massachusetts, and investigative agencies working with each office. In Connecticut, the investigation is being conducted by the United States Postal Service, Office of the Inspector General; the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher M. Mattei.