Only after Henderson-Spruce deposited nearly $60,000 in UPS checks into his personal bank account did the company learn of the scam, according to court documents. The story was first reported by The Chicago Tribune.
The affidavit states that in mid-January, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was alerted to an individual who, three months before, had submitted a form to change a company’s corporate Atlanta address to an apartment unit in Chicago.
The documents reviewed by The Post do not name UPS. But in a statement, a company spokesman said UPS was notified that some U.S. mail that was intended for UPS employees was “redirected by an unauthorized change of address by a third party.”
“The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) corrected the issue and the USPS Postal Inspector is investigating the incident,” the spokesman said. “We’ll defer to the responding authorities for further comment.”
Law enforcement reviewed the change-of-address form and found that the person who submitted it had initially made an error, then crossed out the error and initialed it “HS.” Those same initials were also originally used to sign the form. But the person had scratched them out and replaced them with the company name.
The company then contacted Postal Service inspectors and reported that roughly 150 American Express Corporate Credit Cards had been issued to employees and executives, and that some were sent to Henderson-Spruce’s apartment in December 2017.
It was later learned that only five cards had shipped to the apartment and none was misused, the Tribune report.
A Postal Service carrier who delivered mail to Henderson-Spruce’s apartment told law enforcement about the “voluminous” corporate deliveries that had been coming to the unit for months — more than what would fit into small boxes given to the building’s tenants. The Tribune reported that the carrier had to put the mail in a Postal Service tub and leave it outside Henderson-Spruce’s door.
The carrier was then shown a photograph of Henderson-Spruce and said the young man in the photo matched the person who lived inside and had personally accepted the mail.
At the end of January, Postal inspectors began retrieving most of the corporate mail “destined for delivery” at Henderson-Spruce’s apartment, the affidavit said. Some of the several thousand pieces of recovered mail contained personal information on company employees, as well as business checks and accounts payable invoices.
At that point, the company reported to postal inspectors that Fifth Third Bank had flagged roughly 10 business checks totaling $58,000 that were deposited into Henderson-Spruce’s account. The bank provided surveillance footage showing Henderson-Spruce depositing the checks.
Postal Service inspectors then obtained a federal warrant to search the apartment, which recovered 3,000 pieces of mail, including mail from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and employee benefits documents.
A spokesman for the Postal Inspection Service told The Post that nearly 37 million change-of-address requests were processed in 2017, and that the rate of suspicious transactions reported by customers is less than one-tenth of 1 percent. Many of those complaints turn out to not be related to fraud, and a number can be traced to domestic or other disputes between family and friends. Still others are tied to service-related issues, the spokesman said, adding that the agency is continuously enhancing the security of its change-of address process.
“We continue to assess these options, as we determine the best alternatives to protect the needs of our customers,” the spokesman said.
In a brief interview with a Chicago Tribune reporter outside his apartment building, Henderson-Spruce suggested there had been a mix-up that led to the UPS mail coming to his apartment. He also told that reporter that his identity may have been stolen, then declined to elaborate.
During the interview, Henderson-Spruce said authorities had served a warrant on him in January that seized documents from his apartment including mail, checkbooks and bank records.
“They took things they weren’t supposed to,” he told the Tribune reporter.
Henderson-Spruce was just as tight-lipped in an interview with law enforcement. He confirmed that he lived in the apartment and said he worked for UPS part-time around 2012.
But when asked why he changed the company’s address to his own apartment, he ended the interview.