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Exclusive: JFK postal workers arrested for check-cashing scheme in Brooklyn police takedown

An 18-month criminal investigation concluded in Brooklyn Wednesday morning after an inter-agency task force cuffed two postal workers and three of their cohorts for illegally cashing millions of dollars worth of checks, NYPD officials said.

amNewYork Metro learned on July 10 that cops began busting a slew of individuals in the Flatbush area of the borough during the early hours Wednesday, including one man with a firearm. The five alleged scam artists were put in cuffs and taken in unmarked police vans to the NYPD 84th Precinct.

Those taken into custody include Jamaica residents Kevaugh Wellington, 31, and Angel Ortiz, 27; Bronx resident Fuquan Bradley, 34; Brooklyn resident Mark Dawson, 28; and Orange, NJ resident Ky-Mani Straker, 24.

amNewYork Metro spotted NYPD Assistant Chief of Detectives Janson Savino leaving the stationhouse before quizzing him on the arrests.

The group was taken away in cuffs to 84th Precinct where all five alleged scam artists were piled into unmarked police vans. Photo by Dean Moses The group was taken away in cuffs to 84th Precinct where all five alleged scam artists were piled into unmarked police vans.Photo by Dean Moses

The investigation began after Capital One Bank alerted authorities that large checks were being deposited into accounts that did not match the payee and into a small number of accounts.

“In 2022, we became privy, via Capital One, that individuals were ultimately cashing in an inordinate amount of money via international Treasury checks,” Savino explained. “A million dollars of these checks were cashed in only approximately 150 accounts. So, start doing the math.”

With none of the names on the checks matching the accounts they were being deposited into, Savino stated that the NYPD created a task force that not only consisted of the New York Police Department but also the Secret Service, the Treasury Inspector General, postal police, and the financial crimes unit.

Following thousands of hours of probing, the task force tracked the suspects to the JFK post office. Calling the post office “a point of compromise,” Chief Savino stated that it was discovered that all the stolen checks went through those employees.

amNewYork Metro spotted NYPD Assistant Chief of Detectives Janson Savino leaving the stationhouse before quizzing him on the arrests, during which he unveiled the scope of the case. Photo by Dean Moses The group were whisked away in cuffs to 84th Precinct where all five alleged scam artists were piled into unmarked police vans. Photo by Dean Moses

“These individuals would steal these checks, and then sell them. They would sell them using a telegram app, or some sort of application, and they would sell them for really a modest fee of sorts — $500, $600. But make, if you’re selling literally hundreds of these, you’re making a significant profit with that,” Savino said.  “There were individuals we would call runners. Those runners would then take those checks and do one or two things: they would either resell them, or they would deposit them.”

Savino said that the con artists would also deposit the checks at one ATM branch and then quickly, before the bank could determine fraud, withdraw the funds from another location. The assistant chief said that the funds stolen ranged over $4 million, but after pouring over the ledgers and other materials, they could mount to a staggering $40 million.

Savino also pointed out that the crime is not just about money but also about the victims involved, with the assistant chief saying that people are left financially burdened when relief and Social Security checks do not arrive. He also noted that the perpetrators involved also have a history of violence and when cuffed one was even found with a firearm.

“When you look at these five individuals, three of them have been shot historically. They’ve taken a gun arrest within the last year and, even in today’s takedown, one of the subjects opened up his door, and when he was subsequently apprehended, there was a loaded firearm within his reachable area, literally within feet that was ultimately recovered by our teams,” Savino said.

The group were whisked away in cuffs to 84th Precinct where all five alleged scam artists were piled into unmarked police vans.Photo by Dean Moses The group were whisked away in cuffs to 84th Precinct where all five alleged scam artists were piled into unmarked police vans. Photo by Dean Moses

The post Exclusive: JFK postal workers arrested for check-cashing scheme in Brooklyn police takedown first appeared on The News And Times.