States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|April 25, 2011||
HONG KONG RESIDENT WHO STOLE MAIL AND
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOSEPH MO PUN LAU, 57, a citizen of China formerly residing in Hong Kong, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Christopher F. Droney in Hartford to 50 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for illegally reentering the United States, stealing mail, defrauding four Connecticut banks, and violating the conditions of his supervised release that followed a previous federal conviction.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in April 2010, 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.
LAU also 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 illegally reentered the U.S. after he was deported 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 was on federal supervised release when he committed the most recent offenses in April 2010.
On July 9, 2010, LAU was arrested by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Wilton Police Department in Rockville Centre, New York.
On September 23, 2010, LAU pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of illegally reentering the United States after having been deported. Today, Judge Droney ordered LAU to serve 38 months of imprisonment on these offenses, and a consecutive 12-month prison term for violating the conditions of his supervised release that followed his 2005 federal conviction.
LAU also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $212,215 to the victim banks.
LAU has been detained since his arrest on July 9, 2010.
This matter was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Secret Service, and the Wilton Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rahul Kale.
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