Customs Officer Convicted by Federal Jury of Stealing Checks and Money Orders from International Mail Facility in Torrance
LOS ANGELES – A longtime U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer has been convicted of federal charges for theft of mail from the International Mail Facility (IMF) in Torrance and arranging to have an accomplice deposit checks obtained from the stolen mail.
Carlos Canjura, 54, of Van Nuys, was convicted in federal court on Wednesday afternoon of all nine counts alleged in the superseding indictment, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and possession of stolen mail.
According to court records, Canjura was a CBP Officer assigned to the IMF, where his duties included examining mail and parcels coming into the United States for contraband, counterfeit goods, and possible fraudulent financial checks or credit cards. The IMF is operated by the United States Postal Service and serves as a location where international mail is processed by CBP officers and other personnel to ensure compliance with federal law before delivery to addresses in the United States.
During the three-day trial, federal prosecutors proved that the defendant stole personal checks, traveler's checks and money orders from international mail. Canjura then informed his co-conspirator about the stolen checks using messages with coded language like “centurions,” “troops,” “projects” and “cases” to refer to the checks. Canjura gave the stolen checks to his co-conspirator, who fraudulently endorsed the checks or altered them before depositing the checks at ATMs or through mobile phone applications. Canjura stole well over 100 checks with a cumulative value of at least $65,000.
“The public is entitled to use the mail system without fear that officials charged with safeguarding the mail are abusing it for their own benefit,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This defendant not only abused his position as a federal officer by stealing international mail, he also used the stolen mail in an elaborate scheme to defraud banks. In so doing, he violated the public trust he swore to serve.”
Canjura is scheduled to be sentenced on March 6 by United States District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell. At sentencing, Canjura will face a statutory maximum sentence of 145 years.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility and CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bryant Yang and Special Assistant United States Attorney Ashwin Janakiram of the General Crimes Section.