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August 7, 2018

MADIGAN: STARK COUNTY SHIPPING COMPANY OWNER CHARGED WITH THEFT & FRAUD

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Investigations today announced that the owner of a Stark County shipping company was charged with defrauding the Postal Service out of nearly $2 million.

Keith Ratcliff, 53, of Wyoming, Ill., was charged in Stark County Circuit Court with one Class X felony of theft by deception of over $1 million, one Class 1 felony of theft by deception of over $500,000, one Class 1 felony of theft by deception of over $100,000, one Class 2 felony of over $10,000, one Class 3 felony of wire fraud, and one Class 3 felony of mail fraud.

Ratcliff owns Ratcliff Enterprises Inc., a transportation company also based in Wyoming, Ill., which contracted with the U.S. Postal Service to transport mail between Postal Service facilities in western Illinois and the Peoria area. Under the contracts, the Postal Service paid directly or reimbursed Ratcliff Enterprises for most expenses. Between July 2005 and September 2017, Ratcliff Enterprises entered into 128 contracts with the Postal Service worth more than $27 million.

Madigan alleged that Ratcliff lied about providing employees with workers' compensation insurance, even though the Postal Service contracts required the company to follow all federal and state laws, including Illinois' workers' compensation law. According to Madigan, Ratcliff did not purchase workers' compensation insurance but still submitted expense statements to the Postal Service seeking reimbursements that included workers' compensation premiums. Ratcliff was allegedly paid more than $1.9 million for workers' compensation insurance the company never purchased.

"Keith Ratcliff engaged in a scheme to line his own pockets at the taxpayers' expense," Madigan said. "I appreciate the U.S. Postal Services Office of Inspector General, Investigations' work, and my office is committed to holding this defendant accountable."

"We are gratified to have contributed to this investigation and applaud the exceptional work by the Illinois Attorney General's Office for both protecting the contracting process and overall program costs," said Steven Stuller, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. "Along with our law enforcement partners, the USPS OIG will continue to aggressively investigate those who would engage in fraudulent activities designed to defraud the Postal Service."

If convicted, Ratcliff faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. His next court date is Sept. 28. The public is reminded that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Investigations. Assistant Attorney General John J. Walz is handling the case for Madigan's Special Prosecutions Bureau.

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