WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Washington Township man who was running an eBay business out of his home is accused of scamming the U.S. Postal Service out of more than $400,000 by counterfeiting Priority Mail postage.
A federal criminal complaint from the U.S. Postal Inspector accuses Mark Rivera of using counterfeit labels to fool the Postal Service and save thousands of dollars in postage costs. Counterfeited Priority Mail postage labels were being placed over First Class Mail labels, lowering the cost of the postage.
The Postal Inspector says Rivera also was placing a "fragile handle with care" sticker over postage to avoid scanners at the Post Office.
“In other instances, you could feel that the label was not one piece, but in fact two different pieces of paper," the federal complaint reads.
Read the entire criminal complaint here.
Rivera's business, called Advanced Business, mostly was selling cash register tape. The Postal Inspector says an investigation revealed the business mailed 872 parcels within a certain timeframe, 99.7 percent of which were marked with counterfeit mailing labels.
Overall, since June 2008 Advanced Business is accused of counterfeiting enough postage labels to cost the Postal Service a revenue loss of $437,855.07.
In early December 2015, a search warrant was executed at Rivera's Washington Township home. During the search, investigators seized a roll of tape marked with "fragile hand with care" and a scale, among other items considered evidence.
Rivera is accused of violating United State Code "Title 18," sections 501 and 1341, which is counterfeiting postage and mailing packages with the counterfeited postage.