Star Route Frauds

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STAR ROUTE FRAUDS bilked the Post Office Department of about $4 million in fraudulent contracts to carry mail, principally in the West, in the 1870s and 1880s. Post Office officials, contractors, subcontractors, and a former senator conspired to obtain congressional appropriations for starting new and useless routes. One $90,000 contract was let on the affidavit of one contractor. Another route with $761 income annually received $50,000 to expedite its service, although for thirty-nine days no papers or letters were carried over that road. Congressional investigations, special agents, Pinkerton detectives, and attorneys brought about more than twenty-five indictments. Trials in 1882 and 1883 proved frauds on ninety-three routes, but no convictions resulted.


Cullinan, Gerald. The Post Office Department. New York: Praeger, 1968.

LouisPelzer/c. w.

See alsoPost Roads ; Postal Service, U.S. ; Scandals .