States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|September 23, 2010||
HONG KONG RESIDENT ADMITS ILLEGALLY REENTERING U.S., STEALING MAIL AND DEFRAUDING BANKS
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH MO PUN LAU, 52, a citizen of China formerly residing in Hong Kong, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to one count of bank fraud and one count of illegally reentering the United States after having been deported. The charges stem from a scheme to steal mail and defraud four Connecticut banks in April 2010.
According to court documents and statements made in court, LAU jammed the keyhole of a U.S. Post Office depository located in Wilton, Connecticut, created a false key for the depository, and then stole mail deposited there by several residents of Wilton, Norwalk and Westport. He then removed checks from the stolen mail. LAU also opened bank accounts at Wachovia Bank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Citibank branches in Connecticut under different names using one of four false Chinese passports and U.S. resident alien cards that he possessed. LAU created counterfeit checks ostensibly drawn on the Wilton, Norwalk and Westport residents’ accounts and made payable to the individual under whose name he had set up the bank account, and then cashed checks in the total amount of more than $90,000 at the respective banks.
In pleading guilty, LAU also admitted that undertook the same scheme and stole checks from a U.S. Post Office in Rochester, New York, and deposited counterfeited checks that he made from the stolen checks at banks in New York, New York. The thefts in New York State exceeded $120,000.
LAU was deported from the U.S. in 2007 following a 2005 conviction in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, possession of United States mail keys, and theft of mail matter.
LAU has been detained since his arrest by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Wilton Police Department on July 9 in Rockville Centre, New York.
Judge Droney has scheduled sentencing for December 10, 2010, at which time LAU faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.
This matter has been investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Secret Service, and the Wilton Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rahul Kale.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
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