US postal worker in New Jersey arrested, accused of dumping mail and election ballots

The United States Postal Service logo is seen on a mailbox outside a post office in Los Angeles, California, August 17, 2020. - The United States Postal Service is popularly known for delivering mail despite snow, rain or heat, but it faces a new foe in President Donald Trump. Ahead of the November 3 elections in which millions of voters are expected to cast ballots by mail due to the coronavirus, Trump has leveled an unprecedented attack at the USPS, opposing efforts to give the cash-strapped agency more money as part of a big new virus-related stimulus package, even as changes there have caused delays in mail delivery. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

NEWARK, N.J. (NewsNation Now) — A U.S. Postal Service mail carrier in New Jersey has been charged by federal authorities for allegedly throwing away bundles of mail, including 99 general election ballots that were supposed to be delivered to West Orange residents, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Nicholas Beauchene, 26, of Kearny, New Jersey, was charged with one count of delay, secretion or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail.

According to the criminal complaint and statements made in court:

“Approximately 1,875 pieces of mail – including 627 pieces of first-class, 873 pieces of standard class, 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.”

The mail, ballots and flyers were recovered from dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5.

The first batch of recovered mail (Oct. 2) included 980 total pieces of mail and 98 ballots. The second batch (Oct. 5) included 552 total pieces of mail and 0 ballots. The third batch (Oct. 5) included 345 total pieces of mail and one ballot.

Federal authorities allege that on the delivery dates for which mail was recovered, Beauchene was the only USPS mail carrier assigned to deliver mail to the addresses on the recovered mail, according to the complaint. There are no details as to why Beauchene allegedly dumped the mail.

The delay of mail charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The obstruction of mail charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Beauchene is set to appear in Newark federal court by video conference Wednesday afternoon.