Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Authorities have arrested and charged a U.S. postal worker from New Jersey with throwing out nearly 2,000 pieces of mail including 99 ballots for November's general election that were intended for West Orange residents.
Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, N.J., was arrested and charged Wednesday with one count of delay, secretion or detention of mail and one count of mail obstruction, the Justice Department said in a release.
Prosecutors accuse Beauchene of throwing out 1,875 pieces of mail, including 873 pieces of standard mail, 627 pieces of first-class mail, 276 campaign flyers for local West Orange Town Council and Board of Education candidates and 99 general election ballots that were scheduled to be delivered to Orange and West Orange residents.
The complaint states that the mail was recovered from a North Arlington dumpster about a mile from Beauchene's house and from a dumpster outside a West Orange restaurant.
According to the court document, mail was recovered Oct. 2 from the North Arlington dumpster while mail was recovered from both locations on Oct. 5.
The mail retrieved was scheduled to be delivered on Sept. 28, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 to address on delivery routes Beauchene was the sole U.S. postal employee responsible for on those dates.
"The recovered mail was placed back into the mail stream for delivery to its intended recipients," the Justice Department said. "Copies of the recovered mail were made and retained for evidence."
If convicted, Beauchene could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for delaying or detaining mail charge and up to six months in prions and a $5,000 fine for the mail obstruction charge.