By John A. Ballentine
A Wyoming based mail hauler has been indicted by a Stark County Grand Jury for allegedly defrauding the United States Postal Service of $1.9 million in insurance premiums. The indictment was filed July 13, 2018 and a warrant for arrest was issued.
Keith A. Ratcliff, 53, has been charged with multiple felonies including theft by deception, a Class X felony, two counts additionally of theft, Class 1 felonies, wire fraud and mail fraud, both Class 3 felonies. If convicted, he could be sentenced up to 30 years in prison.
Ratcliff allegedly “lied about providing employees with workers’ compensation insurance,” according to a news release issued by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. In addition the release stated, “Ratcliff did not purchase workers’ compensation insurance but still submitted expense statements to the Postal Service seeking reimbursements.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in the news release, “Keith Ratcliff engaged in a scheme to line his own pockets at the taxpayers’ expense.”
As president and owner of Ratcliff Enterprises, Ratcliff entered into 128 contracts worth more than $27 million with the Postal Service to haul mail in western Illinois between July, 2005 and September, 2017.
Ratcliff appeared in Marshall County Circuit Court on August 7 to be formally arraigned on the Stark County charges. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. Circuit Court Judge Stephen A. Kouri scheduled the next court appearance by Ratcliff for September 28, for a hearing.
Ratcliff was released from custody on August 8 after posting $5,000 or 10% of his $50,000 bail bond. No trial date has been set in this case. Charges were filed in Stark County because of Ratcliff’s residence and the business headquarters are located in Stark County. The investigation was initiated by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General, but was referred to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office.
Ratcliff has retained the legal services of Kevin F. Sullivan, of Peoria, Illinois. Ratcliff also is the owner and operator of Wyoming’s Pour House, located on South Seventh Street/Route 91.
By John A. Ballentine