A postal worker in New Jersey is facing federal charges for dumping almost 2,000 pieces of mail—including 99 election ballots that were headed to Essex County voters. Nicholas Beauchene, 26, has been charged with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail, NJ.com reports. He had an appearance in a federal court Wednesday, where assistant US Attorney Sara F. Merin said there was no evidence the mail-dumping was politically motivated. Beauchene allegedly dumped mail from two different routes on two different days. Authorities say the mail was recovered on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5. Beauchene faces up to 5.5 years in prison if convicted of both charges.
Authorities say Beauchene—who started working for the US Postal Service in July and resigned Wednesday—was the only carrier on the two mail routes involved. He allegedly dumped a total of 1,875 pieces of mail in dumpsters in North Arlington and West Orange, CNN reports. The dumped mail, which included hundreds of election flyers, was returned to the "mail stream for delivery to its intended recipients," authorities say. Investigators haven't disclosed why Beauchamp discarded the mail, although laziness has been the motive in numerous similar cases. (In 2010, authorities found 20,000 pieces of undelivered mail in a Philadelphia mailman's home.)