California Woman Arrested For $60 Million Postal Service Scam Lijuan "Angela" Chen faces two charges that each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
A woman has been arrested as the mastermind behind a postal service scheme that left the USPS with an estimated $60 million in losses.
New court documents allege that Lijuan "Angela" Chen of Walnut, California scammed the service by mailing over 9 million packages with fake postage over six months.
Chen reportedly provided shipping and postage services to several businesses operating out of China from November 1, 2022, through the end of April 2023, operating her fraudulent business from China during December and May.
The scam began to unravel after United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) investigator Mark White noticed that Chen's packages were being sent out with meter numbers that started in "07", even though "07" meter numbers had stopped being used in 2020.
"When attempting to determine whether an item of PC Postage is counterfeit, USPIS and USPS personnel will frequently look to see if any of the unique identifiers on the postage are either invalid or inconsistent with other information on the shipping label," White said, according to court documents. "Investigators noticed that the meter numbers on many of the shipping labels, all of which indicated that they had been purchased and printed in 2023, related to postage meters known to have been discontinued in 2020."
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) maintained that Chen would put shipping labels on packages she received from Chinese vendors that would scan through as already being paid before transferring and shipping them around the U.S.
DOJ also said that barcode information on Chen's packages was "inconsistent" with other items found on the label.
"The evidence obtained in the investigation shows that Chen is operating a business, which provides shipping and postage services to businesses, including e-commerce vendors operating out of China, that seek discounted USPS rates for mailing their products within the United States, the DOJ shared of an affidavit recorded about the case. "Multiple examinations conducted by USPS and USPIS staff have revealed that the vast majority of the postage used by Chen and her business to ship goods within the United States is counterfeit."
Chen's husband allegedly handed the business off to her after he fled to China in 2019 after being interviewed by USPIS inspectors.
Chen is being charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and possessing and using counterfeit postage. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for both charges combined.