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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Secret Service Agents, accompanied by New Rochelle Police officers, executed a search warrant Tuesday on an apartment on the 37th floor of the Skyline New Rochelle at 40 Memorial Highway in the City's downtown. The raid was tied to an ongoing investigation into fraud at the New Rochelle post office reported exclusively by Talk of the Sound in November.
The Skyline apartment building is located two blocks from the New Rochelle branch of the U.S. Post Office.
One witness described what appeared to be 20 Secret Service agents and police officers dressed in SWAT gear arriving at the location shortly after 10:30 p.m. on January 8th.
New Rochelle Police Captain Cosmo Costa said his agency received a request “at about 1900hrs...to assist the Secret Service with a search warrant.”
Costa directed Talk of the Sound to the Secret Service for additional details. The Public Information Office of the Department of Homeland Security is closed during the government shut down. No further information was provided by the Secret Service.
Sources within the USPS are scared to talk about the matter, saying it is all “hush hush”.
According to witnesses, the people in the apartment had not lived there for more than a few months. 2 or 3 people were detained in the hallway as the Secret Service tossed the apartment.
One source said the raid was an extension of the New Rochelle Post Office investigation which Talk of the Sound reported on November 14th. At that time we reported on allegations related to moving drugs and cash through the mail, stealing checks, check washing and more. One scheme reportedly involved employees “renting out” keys to Post Office boxes so their confederates could loot the contents of the PO boxes. Talk of the Sound reported there were multiple arrests in November.
At the time, NRPD was able to confirm one arrest by Federal agents.
“We were advised of an arrest of a mail carrier by the postal authorities,” said Captain Cosmo Costa, Commanding Officer of the Criminal Investigations Division of the New Rochelle Police Department. “It is our understanding that US District Court would handle the proceedings.“
The Feds were tight-lipped then — and now.
Neither the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General’s Office or the U.S. Department of Justice have been willing to comment on the arrests over the past three months. One source said the raid at the Skyline appeared to be the final stage of the investigation.
“These guys allegedly were the ones washing checks and creating fake credit cards,” said one source familiar with the recent raid. “A substantial amount of cash was confiscated as part of the raid.”
New Rochelle has close ties to the most famous check-forger in the history of the United States. Frank Abagnale Jr., whose career as a con man began when he was 15, went to school from Kindergarten to High School in New Rochelle, attending Iona Grammar School and graduating from Iona Prep in 1966.
Abagnale was played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Steven Spielberg film “Catch If You Can”, also starring Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, and Martin Sheen. The film tells the story of a teen-age Abagnale performing cons worth millions of dollars. He impersonated a pilot for Pan Am, a doctor in Georgia and a parish prosecutor in Louisiana. He was so good at check fraud that after he was caught and had served 5 years in Federal prison the FBI hired him to catch other check forgers.
Multiple Reports of Arrests of New Rochelle Postal Employees