(Image source from: DNA India)
Two Indian-Americans, owners, and operators of a bulk-mailing company in suburban Chicago, were charged with defrauding the United States Postal Service of at least $16 million.
According to criminal charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago, the two men, Yogesh Patel, 58, and Arvind Lakkamsani, 57, owner and operator of Prodigy Mailing Services defrauded USPS by forging documents and secretly using an official date stamp to fraudulently authenticate payment of postage for more than 80 million pieces of mail.
David Gargano, 51, is the third suspect who schemed with Patel and Lakkamsami, to fraudulently cause the USPS to deliver numerous bulk mailings without defrayal, by forging the signature of USPS clerk on the verification forms and secretly used an official postal service date stamp.
A loss of at least $16 million has been caused by the suspects from 2010 to 2015, according to charges. One count of mail fraud has been charged against the three men, though arraignments in the U.S. District Court of Chicago have not yet been scheduled, a media release said.
According to the charges, Gargano-owned and Illinois-based Direct Mail Resources Inc, which collected a fee to match customers seeking to make bulk mailings with companies who could perform those services, such as Prodigy. Gargano referred two energy companies to Prodigy for bulk mailing services.
Federal prosecutors alleged that the defendants made the mailings but kept the postage money from the energy companies without paying postage to the postal service.
A key to a postal service mail unit, which was located inside Prodigy's facility was fraudulently maintained by Patel and Lakkamsami, and used it to secretly access an official date-stamp without the USPS' knowledge or approval, the release said.
The two Indian-American men by forging the signature of postal clerk's and fraudulently stamping the mailings made it falsely seem that verification forms were authentic and the postage had been appropriately paid, federal prosecutors alleged.
By Sowmya Sangam