Crime

Charlotte mail carrier pleads guilty to stealing parcels for Jamaican lottery scam

A Charlotte mail carrier pleaded guilty on Monday to intercepting illegal shipments of drugs along with cash from a Jamaican lottery scam. Antonio Brown faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A Charlotte mail carrier pleaded guilty on Monday to intercepting illegal shipments of drugs along with cash from a Jamaican lottery scam. Antonio Brown faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Observer staff

Suffice to say, Charlotte mail carrier Antonio Brown failed to complete his “appointed task.”

Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night is supposed to stop the flow of mail. But Brown, 31, found other reasons. He pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to diverting packages that carried illegal cash and drugs. Prosecutors say the shipments of money came from victims of a Jamaican lottery scam.

The formal charge against Brown, a carrier for 11 years, is mail theft. The details are far juicier.

Brown admitted to U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler that he intercepted “drug- or cash-laden” packages sent to his rural Charlotte route as part of the lottery scam. According to newly released court documents, Brown was on the tail end of a conspiracy that swindled 10 or more victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here’s how prosecutors say it worked:

Brown was first approached by a co-conspirator in January 2015 and asked if he would agree to grab certain parcels sent to homes on his route. Brown agreed and was paid $200-$250 for each piece of mail he stole.

In return, Brown gave his partner a list of addresses to use for the illicit mailings. The partner would then text Brown with tracking numbers, delivery instructions, and the day the packages in question were shipped.

Brown, according to prosecutors, would intercept the mail after its arrival and then either deliver it to prearranged drop-off points or turn it over to individuals who approached him on his route.

Some of the packages contained drugs. Much of the money was sent by victims of the lottery scam who had been persuaded to make payments to fictitious individuals in return for a shot at a big payoff. One victim, referred to in court documents as “M.A.,” mailed $41,000 to an address on Pinewood Drive in Charlotte, which was on Brown’s route. The carrier intercepted the money and delivered it to someone else, then marked the parcel as “delivered.”

For his efforts, prosecutors say Brown earned an extra $10,000 above and beyond his federal paycheck. Now he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He has also agreed to pay restitution, an amount to be set by the court.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

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