A Lucas County grand jury on Thursday indicted seven people for an alleged scheme to defraud the Toledo Free Press by faking delivery of newspapers.
The indictments allege that the paper's former circulation manager, Charles Christopher Campos, and six contractors fabricated delivery routes and fraudulently billed the newspaper, according to Jeff Lingo, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor and chief of the criminal division. He said the period identified in the indictment is Jan. 1, 2008, to Aug. 19, 2011.
Mr. Lingo said the alleged scheme to defraud the paper was found after an employee learned about papers that had been delivered on a regular basis to a recycling business.
Mr. Campos, 48, of 2033 Marlow Rd. was indicted on a charge of aggravated theft by deception, a third-degree felony.
Five defendants who were employed as independent contractors were charged with grand theft by deception, a fourth-degree felony. They were Rene Catherine Mugler, 40, of 8505 Larch Rd., Sylvania; Alexis Javier Gama, 23, of 1335 N. Ontario St.; Leticia M. Flores, 22, of 1335 N. Ontario; William August Lange, 57, of 6400 S. Dixie Hwy., Erie, and Christopher Allen Lange, 30, also of the Erie address. Another contractor, Edson Martin Gama, 39, of 1335 N. Ontario, was charged with receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony.
Thomas Pounds, president and publisher of the newspaper, in a column published Nov. 13, characterized the alleged thefts as a check-cashing scheme. He said it cost the business, at 605 Monroe St., "tens of thousands of dollars." The Toledo Free Press prints and distributes two publications weekly.
Mr. Pounds said that when the thefts were discovered, the newspaper hired an agency to investigate and collect evidence, which was turned over to the Lucas County Prosecutor's Office.
"The loss of money and property is of course a setback. But coming to terms with having someone we thought of as a family member be the thief is just as great a source of pain," he wrote.
Mr. Pounds declined to comment Thursday to The Blade.
Contact Tom Troy at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.