Brandon Wilson, 27, of Buffalo, NY, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with delay or destruction of mail. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“This Office is committed not only to ensuring the integrity of the mails but also of individuals’ rights to vote in a free and fair election,” stated U.S. Attorney James Kennedy. “The criminal conduct with which this defendant is alleged to have engaged, undermined both of those interests.”
According to the complaint, on Election Day November 3, 2020, at approximately 7:34 p.m., Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers encountered Wilson, an employee of the United States Postal Service (USPS), at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry. As part of a standard CBP vehicle sweep, Wilson opened the trunk of his vehicle for CBP Officers. A USPS mail bin containing numerous mail pieces was observed by a CBP officer inside the trunk. CBP officers also observed multiple USPS uniform items bearing the USPS logo along with a USPS identification badge with Wilson’s name. Wilson stated the mail belonged to him and his mother. However, Wilson could not account for additional names printed on the mail pieces. Wilson further stated that he had intended to deliver the mail and had forgotten to return the mail pieces to the post office.
The United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, was called to retrieve the recovered mail pieces. A subsequent inventory of the recovered mail pieces revealed three absentee ballots sent to two Buffalo, NY, addresses from the Erie County, NY Board of Elections, 106 political mailings, 220 first class mailings, and 484 standard mailings for an approximate total of 813 mail pieces. The first-class letter mailings were destined for zip codes 14227, 14211, 14214, with the majority destined for 14215. Cancellation dates showed seven dates between September 16 and October 26, 2020.
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The complaint is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kenneth Cleevely, Eastern Area Field Office, Pittsburgh, PA, and Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of Field Operations, Rose Brophy.