Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge for the Boston Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, today announced that ROBERT KUSS, 54, of Cheshire, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty yesterday in Hartford federal court one count of mail fraud stemming from his role in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Postal Service of nearly $750,000.
According to court documents and statements made in court, KUSS is the managing partner of Creative Marketing Group, LLC (“CMG”), a mail service provider in the business of sending bulk mailings. CMG has a Permit Imprint bulk mailing permit (“PI permit”) that allows the company to print postage indicia directly onto an envelope rather that affix a postage stamp or a meter impression to each piece of mail (the printed postage indicia tend to be pink printings on the upper right hand corner of an envelope).
Generally, a PI permit holder has an account from which the USPS debits the appropriate postage charge for each bulk mailing. To utilize its PI permit, a mailer generally drops off its bulk mailing at the office that maintains its permit, known as a Business Mail Entry Unit (“BMEU”) – in this instance the Bristol (Conn.) Post Office. There, the mailing is examined and accepted by BMEU postal employees. The USPS then debits the mailer’s account the appropriate amount for postage.
To save money, a bulk mailer may also transport the bulk mailing itself to a destination USPS facility to obtain lower postage rates rather than simply deliver the bulk mailing to the appropriate BMEU. To do so, a mailer must bring both the bulk mailing and a form known as Postal Service Form 8125 (“PS 8125 Form”) to the BMEU for verification. Once verified, the BMEU personnel debit the mailer’s account and fill out the PS 8125 Form with information about the bulk mailing, including the mailer’s permit number, the total number of pieces of mail and the total mail weight. BMEU personnel also affix a USPS stamp to the form. The mailer then takes the bulk mailing and the PS 8125 Form to the destination USPS facility for delivery. A USPS employee at the destination facility reviews the bulk mailing and the form to ensure they match and for completeness before accepting the mailing and the PS 8125 Form.
Between approximately July 2014 and March 2016, KUSS brought bulk mailings to destination USPS facilities with fraudulent PS 8125 Forms. KUSS had filled out and stamped the forms to appear as though the bulk mailings had been brought to and verified by the BMEU in Bristol, and as though the USPS had appropriately debited his advanced deposit account. In fact, KUSS had not brought the bulk mailings to the BMEU, the BMEU had not verified the mailings, and the USPS had not debited his advanced deposit account.
KUSS delivered at least 125 bulk mailings to destination USPS facilities around the country pursuant to this scheme. As a result, he sent 3,260,183 pieces of mail without paying for postage, and the USPS lost $749,573.
The charge of mail fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. KUSS is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny on April 17, 2017.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Pierpont, Jr. and John H. Durham.