A Monsey man has been arrested on charges of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service of more than $118,000 by using duplicate shipping labels to support his cellphone accessory business.
Yehuda Shechter, 39, was taken into custody Tuesday and later released on a $75,000 bond.
Schechter, who allegedly carried out the fraud while working on behalf of a website known as BvHcell.com, apparently exploited a loophole in the Postal Service’s system, using his computer for years to print out duplicate shipping labels and escape paying full postage rates.
The fraud, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in White Plains, began honestly. Schechter opened a postage account with the Endicia website on Dec. 18, 2008, but didn’t produce the first duplicate label until Aug. 5, 2009.
After that, however, the pace of the fraud escalated quickly, the complaint says. For nearly three years Schechter allegedly went on to produce duplicate labels for nearly 10,000 pieces of mail through the website, costing the Postal Service around $38,907, according to the complaint.
In April 2012, Schechter closed his account with the company and, a month later, opened another account with Stamps.com, where he allegedly created duplicate shipping labels for around 25,000 pieces of mail, costing the Postal Service around $80,000.
Postal inspectors staked out Schechter for a week in April 2012.
Later, authorities set up a sting, and an undercover agent bought two cellphone chargers from Schechter’s company and found the shipping labels — both with Spring Valley return addresses — carried unique codes that had been used previously. BvHcell.com was still active Friday.
“I have nothing to say,” Schechter said Friday.
Schechter’s lawyer, Jason Ser, declined to comment. Schechter faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
By Erik Shillng - Lohud