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Friday, May 19, 2017

Queens man pleads guilty to money order scheme

All WNY News     Friday, May 19, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS



ROCHESTER -- Charles Novak, 29, of Queens, pleaded guilty to theft of government money before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Rossi, who is handling the case, stated that Novak conspired with others to cash multiple, forged U.S. Postal money orders in the Rochester and Syracuse areas in 2016. The money orders had been altered and fraudulently raised in value from $1.51 to $1,000 each. During the scheme, Novak and others stole more than $48,000 from the United States Postal Service.

The defendant was identified when he presented a forged money order to a clerk at the Jefferson Road Post Office in Henrietta. When a Postal Inspector approached Novak, he fled from the scene. During the ensuing chase, the defendant dropped a cell phone, which Postal Inspectors recovered and searched. The phone was logged on to the defendant’s Facebook account and Postal Inspectors retrieved his name and photograph. Novak was taken into custody in New York City in August 2016.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector-in-Charge Shelly Binkowski of the Boston Division; and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Patrick O’Flynn.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 18.

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