A former U.S. Postal Service employee has been charged with stealing over $1.6 million in checks from the mail.
Prosecutors said 43-year-old Hachikosela Muchimba, of D.C., was charged with mail theft and bank fraud in a D.C. District Court for the two-year-long scheme, according to a Friday news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Between October 2021 and last March, Muchimba stole checks from U.S. mail on his delivery routes, changing the name of the recipient on them to his own and depositing the amounts into a bank account under his name, according to the news release.
He was a USPS mail carrier since 2016 and was placed on leave in March “as a result of his alleged involvement of loss of mail and funds,” prosecutors said.
According to court documents, Muchimba can be seen on bank surveillance video making multiple ATM transactions and depositing the stolen checks into his account.
Many of these false checks were originally from the U.S. Treasury, according to the news release. After getting a search warrant for his home, law enforcement discovered an ATM receipt that showed he had deposited a U.S. Treasury check worth over $415,000.
A civil forfeiture filing from earlier this month ordered the seizure of $402,669.95 from the bank account believed to be operated by Muchimba.
Officials believe the amount may be less than half of the total amount of fraudulent deposits made across eight bank accounts.
“He deposited approximately 98 misappropriated checks into those accounts with an aggregate value of $1,697,909.52. At least 90 of those misappropriated checks were U.S. Treasury checks,” the filing said.
Investigators believe Muchimba altered checks from the U.S. Treasury and added his name and address before depositing them to bank accounts via mobile apps.
Muchimba faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
WTOP’s Ivy Lyons contributed to this report.