Mail carrier from Columbus accused of using addresses in tax refund scam


MACON, Ga. — Federal prosecutors say a Georgia mail carrier is accused of using addresses on his route for an elaborate fraud scheme using refund checks.

The federal indictment says the worker used his postal route to give out addresses where “fraudulently obtained” refund checks would be sent. The case against him claims he used addresses for vacant lots or houses.

He then allegedly took those checks once they were mailed and passed them along to other conspirators in the fraud.

The 48-count federal indictment obtained by the Associated Press charges Harold Coley of Columbus with conspiracy, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and theft of mail.

Although the indictment names several alleged conspirators, it charged only Coley. The charges were handed up Nov. 9 in Macon, and unsealed Wednesday.

The Associated Press says reporters could not reach Coley for comment. Two numbers found in online databases for a Harold Coley in Columbus reached only a phone company recording saying they had been disconnected or changed.

When a News 3 reporter reached out to the Middle District of Georgia Federal Court Office to ask if the mail carrier was using addresses in the Columbus area, a phone operator gave the following statement:

Operator: “I can neither confirm nor deny anything about an ongoing investigation. Not that I’m saying there is one, but even if there was, I would tell you I don’t know anything about it. There’s a reason we can’t talk about a case.”

News 3: “So you can’t tell me if this happened in our area? Our information is that the records were unsealed Wednesday.”

Operator: “Well I don’t know that, and until I do, you’d be better off calling the FBI agent in charge.”

News 3 has not yet received a call back from the FBI Atlanta field office.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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