A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier has been charged by federal authorities for allegedly discarding bundles of mail, including 99 general election ballots that were supposed to be delivered to Essex County residents, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, was charged with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail.
According to the criminal complaint, nearly 2,000 pieces of mail, including 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange and hundreds of campaign flyers for local elections, were recovered from dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5.
Authorities alleged that Beauchene, who started working for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in July, was the only mail carrier assigned to deliver mail to the addresses on the recovered mail, according to the complaint.
During Nicholas Beauchene’s first appearance in federal court, assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin said the 26-year-old gave a statement after being arrested Wednesday allegedly admitting he discarded the mail, but Merin said there there is no evidence at this time indicating that Beauchene’s actions were politically motivated.
The criminal complaint does not detail why Beauchene allegedly discarded the mail.
Beauchene resigned from the USPS Wednesday morning, Merin said, a position he started in July. U.S. District Judge Cathy L. Waldon set Beauchene’s bail at a $25,000 unsecured bond.
Authorities said once the mail was recovered, it was put back into the “mail stream for delivery to its intended recipients.”
The charges against Beauchene come after North Arlington police received a call last week reporting mail found near a dumpster at a shopping center. The police said the USPS was investigating the matter.
Beauchene’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
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Joe Atmonavage may be reached at [email protected].