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St. Louis County man admits stealing checks, committing fraud

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ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis County man appeared in federal court on Thursday and admitted stealing mail from collection boxes and committing fraud with stolen checks.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri said Tahj K. Boyd, 21, and James R. Townsend, 19, were arrested on Oct. 18, 2023, during a traffic stop on Highway 141 in Manchester.

On Sept. 1, 2023, police were notified of suspicious activity outside the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) at 1100 Town and Country Commons Drive in Town and Country. Two men were seen running from the collection boxes while carrying two black trash bags.

After police pulled Boyd over, officers found trash bags in the vehicle containing 110 pieces of stolen mail, including 60 checks worth more than $32,000. Police searched Boyd’s phone and found evidence that he’d looked up the locations of other post offices and collection boxes.

In addition, Boyd was found in possession of debit cards with the names of other individuals. Investigators learned Boyd had been committing fraud with checks stolen from the mail.

Prosecutors said that between June 2022 and October 2022, Boyd, Townsend, and others either deposited or tried to deposit checks worth more than $83,000 using the debit cards found in Boyd’s possession.

Boyd would deposit the checks in his account or he’d get others to allow him to deposit checks in their accounts.

As a result, Boyd admitted causing $115,973 in fraud losses.

Boyd pleaded guilty to mail theft and possession of stolen mail. He faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine when he’s sentenced on May 8.

Meanwhile, Townsend pleaded guilty to mail theft in October 2023. A sentencing date was not disclosed.

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