BAY SHORE, N.Y. - A Long Island U.S. Postal Service worker is accused of stealing Costco rewards certificates from the mail facility where he has been a full-time employee since 2018.
Authorities arrested Gerome Fowler, 32, on Monday and charged him with grand larceny, petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, and official misconduct.
"It was an alert Costco worker that tipped them off," Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said. "He was cashing certificates into his own account and wearing a postal uniform."
Fowler appeared in that same uniform in court on Tuesday with his hands cuffed. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
"The hard work of the thousands of postal service employees shouldn't be overshadowed by those who decide to compromise their integrity for personal gain," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Steven Vargas of the United States Postal Service.
Prosecutors said that over a six-month period, Fowler allegedly had more than $70,000 worth of Costco rewards in his membership account. He allegedly used the checks to purchase high-end clothing and jewelry at store locations from Riverhead to Melville. Officials believe other victims are likely out there.
"Anyone who believes they should've received the rewards certificate recently should reach out to the Costco office and Costco will make appropriate referrals to my office," Tierney said.
Fowler, who was released without bail, didn't say anything as he left court.
Fowler's attorney, Robert Santucci, said he has known Fowler for years. He said his client is an upstanding citizen with a clean record.
"Everyone is innocent until proven guilty," Santucci said.
Per policy, the U.S. Postal Service said it does not comment on administrative actions.
If convicted on the top charge, Fowler faces a maximum of seven years in prison. He is due back in court on Aug. 25.