- Lijuan Chen was arrested on May 24 after the USPS investigated an alleged counterfeit postage scheme.
- Postal inspectors estimate Chen and her employees shipped over nine million parcels in six months.
- Chen ran a business shipping parcels for e-commerce sites, including a number in China, the documents say.
A California woman used counterfeit postage to ship over nine million parcels over the course of six months, prosecutors claimed in a recent court filing.
Lijuan “Angela” Chen was arrested on May 24 after postal inspectors from the United States Postal Service investigated the alleged fraud scheme, documents seen by Insider show.
She faces one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and one count of use or possession of counterfeit postage, per the documents. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, if the defendant is found guilty.
According to an inspector’s affidavit, the USPS would have lost $60 million in revenue due to the apparent scheme.
The postal inspector said that the shipping labels used a meter number which had already been phased out of use in 2020, even though they also indicated they’d been purchased in 2023.
He also carried out surveillance on a warehouse, watching a delivery truck travel to a USPS facility “where it unloaded twelve large cardboard boxes full of parcels containing counterfeit postage,” per the affidavit.
Other inspectors saw one truck, which had been turned away from a distribution center for trying to ship mail with counterfeit postage, parked outside Chen’s house a day later, according to the court document.
“The evidence obtained in the investigation shows that Chen is operating a business which provides shipping and postage services to businesses, including e-commerce vendors operating out of China, that seek discounted USPS rates for mailing their products within the United States,” the court document says.
“Multiple examinations conducted by USPS and USPIS staff have revealed that the vast majority of the postage used by Chen and her business to ship goods within the United States is counterfeit,” it alleges.
Prosecutors say the alleged scheme was initially run by Chen’s husband before he travelled to China in 2019, and she is believed to have continued it no later than August 2022.
A representative for USPS did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.