Brooklyn Boro

Sunset Park man arrested for stealing more than $12,000 in stimulus checks

May 1, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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A 31-year-old man from Sunset Park was arraigned in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday after he was arrested for theft of mail that included credit cards and over $12,000 worth of stimulus checks.

“For many families, these stimulus checks are a lifeline in these difficult times and anyone who tries to cut that lifeline will face the full weight of the law,” said Richard Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District. “This office will vigorously prosecute all those who seek to take advantage of the public health crisis. I commend the NYPD police officers for their truly outstanding work and service under difficult conditions.”

Feng Chen was allegedly observed on the morning of April 28, 2020 in Sunset Park by members of the NYPD as he searched inside a medical collection bin, then walked to a nearby residential building where he examined the mail. After he allegedly walked into a gated area of a second residential building and left with what appeared to be mail, he saw the officers and threw the mail onto the sidewalk.

After allegedly observing him toss the mail, NYPD officers exited their vehicle to confront Chen and noticed a bulge in his jacket pocket. Upon searching him, officers allegedly found checks for more than $12,000 plus credit cards and other opened envelopes.

Chen was scheduled to appear before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak on Thursday where he was scheduled be charged. If convicted, Chen faces up to five years in prison.

“The NYPD recognizes how the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for a variety of malicious, criminal scams,” said Commissioner Dermot Shea. “In this case, I applaud our alert detectives and federal partners for interrupting an alleged scheme to victimize New Yorkers by stealing important mail and stimulus money meant to aid them during this unprecedented crisis.”

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