Man accused of diverting others' mail to himself
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A man was charged with using scores of change-of-address forms to divert mail from all over the nation to his address in Beaver County.
Federal prosecutors this week charged Fred Hill of Aliquippa with wire fraud, accusing him of diverting mail from people both living and dead.
Postal inspectors said in court records that when they entered an Aliquippa home where Mr. Hill had stayed, they found "a significant volume" of abandoned mail along with lists of Social Security numbers and names of people in California, Georgia and Arkansas.
The criminal complaint alleges that Mr. Hill compromised the bank accounts of Freddie Hill, 72, of Savannah, Ga., and Dan Money of Chesapeake, Va. Authorities alleged that Mr. Hill took $12,000 in two convenience checks from the account of Freddie Hill last year.
Freddie Hill said she realized that something was wrong when she did not receive any mail in her name for several weeks in March 2005. She said she saw her postman and asked, " 'What's happening? I'm not getting any mail,' and this is when I learned what happened," she said.
"I never knew about Aliquippa until this thing occurred," Freddie Hill said. "I'm still having problems with my address being changed. It's a nightmare."
Since January, Fred Hill had used the Postal Service's Web site to file 170 change-of-address forms since January, authorities alleged in court records. The same credit card had been used to pay the $1 charge for filing change-of-address forms online, they said.
Postal Service spokeswoman Patricia Licata said a credit card is required for security reasons. "We have systems in place to prevent this type of occurrence," she said, but declined further comment on the specific case until officials have time to analyze what happened.
Mr. Money told authorities that someone had tried to open a credit card account at Target in his name in February and had also charged a Web site subscription fee to his account.
Mr. Hill's attorney, Adrian Roe, said his client remained in Allegheny County Jail. Roe declined comment on the charges.
First Published April 14, 2006 12:00 am