Congressman Wants Probe of Fraud Allegations at Bulk Mail Center

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Rep. Steve Chabot, R-OH, asked the General Accounting Office on Tuesday to investigate the U.S. Postal Service's Sharonville, OH, bulk mail center, according to news reports.

Chabot's request stems from allegations of overcounting and fraud there made by a former USPS employee during the past few years. Gary Joseph, who worked at the bulk mail center in Sharonville, one of 21 nationwide bulk mail centers that handle everything but letters, said that mail is consistently counted more than once at the Sharonville location and at all bulk centers nationwide.

"They were inflating their mail counts, nothing to show actual mail being counted. It was all done with the stroke of a pen," Joseph said. "There was no actual way of counting the mail that was being processed. They were just making up numbers."

"If, in fact, the counts aren't accurate, that means the public is paying higher costs than they ought to," Chabot said, "so it is something that warrants looking into and trying to make sure the public isn't being ripped off."

Joseph's original complaints several years ago prompted a nine-month investigation by the Inspector General's Office. It was determined that bulk mail center personnel in nine locations did not effectively capture and record volume or use consistent, reliable counting procedures.

However, a USPS spokesman said that if a mailer brought in several hundred thousand pieces of mail and a USPS employee tried to inflate the count for postage, "the mailer would never stand for that ... They know how much mail they brought in and what they should be charged."

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