Indian American Owners of Mailing Firm Accused of $16 Million Postal Service Fraud
Yogesh Patel and Arvind Lakkamsani, owners of Prodigy Mailing Services, allegedly swindled U.S. Postal Services by forging documents and secretly using an official date stamp.
Two Indian American owners of a bulk mailing company were charged with defrauding the U.S. Postal Service of at least $16 million on June 25.
Yogesh Patel and Arvind Lakkamsani, who owned and operated Prodigy Mailing Services, allegedly swindled the USPS 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 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.
Prodigy Mailing Services Inc., which was based in Bolingbrook and later in Woodridge, assembled bulk mailings from customers and provided them – along with fraudulent payment and verification forms – to the Postal Service for delivery, without paying postage on those mailings, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois, said in a statement.
Patel, 58, of Orlando, and Lakkamsani, 57, of Northbrook, allegedly schemed with a third defendant, David Gargano, 51, to carry out their fraud. The trio forged a Postal Service clerk’s signature on the verification forms and secretly used an official date stamp to make it appear that the clerk had authenticated postage, the charges allege. They caused a loss of at least $16 million to the Postal Service from 2010 to 2015, according to the charges.
Prodigy handled bulk mailing services for two energy companies, which were referred by Gargano, who owned Illinois-based Direct Mail Resources Inc. The two energy firms gave it millions of dollars to pay the postage for their bulk mailings. However, the accused split the money amongst themselves and used it for their own benefit instead of using those funds to pay the postage, the charges allege.
Patel and Lakkamsani apparently fraudulently kept a key to a mail unit of the postal department, which was located inside Prodigy’s facility, and used it to access an official date stamp without permission or authorization from the Postal Service. They allegedly forged a clerk’s signature and stamped the mailings to make it appear that the postage for the bulk mailing had been duly paid.
The three defendants have been charged with one count of mail fraud, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the statement said.