A USPS mail carrier in New Jersey acknowledged having thrown away mail, including voting ballots, in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.
Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, pleaded guilty to one count of desertion of mail after he dumped over 1,900 pieces of mail, including 99 general election ballots, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said on May 27.
Beauchene admitted that, on three days, Sept. 28, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2, 2020, he discarded into dumpsters 1,875 pieces of mail that he was assigned to deliver to postal customers in West Orange and Orange New Jersey. This mail included “627 pieces of first-class mail, 873 pieces of standard class mail, two pieces of certified mail, 99 general election ballots destined for residents in West Orange, and 276 campaign flyers from local candidates for West Orange Town Council and Board of Education.”
Law enforcement collected the discarded mail and delivered it to its intended recipients.
Beauchene faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000. The date for his sentence has been scheduled for Sept. 21.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara F. Merin said Beauchene submitted a statement admitting he threw the letters away in his first appearance in federal court after being indicted in October. However, the prosecution stated that there was no indication that Beauchene’s acts were politically motivated at the time, NJ.com reported.
The petition came after additional cases of discarded mail were discovered in the run-up to the election.
Last year, spa owner Lilia Serobian claimed she saw a rental truck dumping mail into a dumpster in her building’s parking area.
“It happened early in the morning, 5:40, and it was a Budget rental, big truck, that backed up to the parking lot. And they’re like, slowly, one by one, they’re dropping the packages,” she said at the time.
Batches of mail and voter ballots were stolen from mailboxes in California and thrown out in a similar incident in October.
The mail was discovered spanning the California villages of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms, according to San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials.
“You know, is this intentional? Is this meant to suppress the vote? I don’t know,” the woman who discovered the mail told a local news source, though law police eventually confirmed it was not.