Two Indian Americans, Yogesh Patel (58) and Arvind Lakkamsani (57), have been charged with defrauding the US Postal Service of at least $16 million. The two Indian Americans were the owners of Prodigy Mailing Services, a bulk mailing service owned and operated by the duo, for a five-year period -from 2010 to 2015. They have forged documents and secretly used an official date stamp to fraudulently authenticate payment of postage for than 80 million pieces of mail from two energy companies.
This led to the US Postal Service losing at $16 million as stated earlier. Here is the full press release put out by the Illinois Justice Department: “The owners of a suburban bulk-mailing company swindled the U.S. Postal Service out of at least $16 million by forging documents and secretly using an official date stamp to fraudulently authenticate payment of postage for than 80 million pieces of mail, according to criminal charges filed today by the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago. Yogesh Patel and Arvind Lakkamsani owned and operated Prodigy Mailing Services Inc., which was based in Bolingbrook and later in Woodridge. Prodigy assembled bulk mailings from customers and provided the mailings – along with fraudulent payment and verification forms – to the Postal Service for delivery, without paying postage on those mailings.”
According to the charges, Patel and Lakkamsani schemed with a third defendant, David Gargano, to fraudulently cause the Postal Service to deliver numerous bulk mailings without payment. The trio forged a Postal Service clerk’s signature on the verification forms and secretly used an official Postal Service date stamp to make it falsely appear that the clerk had authenticated postage, the charges allege.
From 2010 to 2015, the defendants caused a loss to the Postal Service of at least $16 million. Arraignments in US District Court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled. The charges were announced by John R Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and William Hedrick, Acting Inspector-in-Charge of the US Postal Inspection Service in Chicago.
However, the defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory US Sentencing Guidelines. The government is represented by Assistant US Attorney Jacqueline Stern.