TAMPA — A Tampa man was indicted on 15 federal charges Thursday accusing him of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service to mail 5.6 million items of bulk mail free of charge.
Galal Ramadan, 61, owner of G.R. Marketing & Graphic Design, was charged with 14 counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Prosecutors say the loss to the Postal Service was $1.3 million.
The indictment comes about two weeks after a truck driver who worked for Ramadan pleaded guilty for his part in the alleged scheme. The driver, Richard Nieves, 39, is cooperating with authorities. Ramadan denied wrongdoing in an interview, saying Nieves acted alone.
Prosecutors say Ramadan's customers paid him for the production of bulk mail items, including postage at a discounted, bulk rate offered by the Postal Service. Ramadan, prosecutors say, should have deposited that money in a postal account.
But from 2005 to 2007, "the conspirators exploited … vulnerabilities to send the mailings without ever paying the postage," Nieves' plea agreement said.
Part of the scheme, prosecutors say, involved placing counterfeit or stolen tags on pallets carrying bulk mail. Such tags indicated to postal workers that the postage had been paid, thus clearing it for mailing.