Federal contractor pleads guilty in $1.2 million Postal Service scheme

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A federal contractor from Rochester Hills pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling more than $1 million in government funds from the United States Postal Service, officials announced.

An indictment filed this year accused Michael Rymar of a scheme that lasted from 2015-18 and involved his company, Horizons Materials & Management LLC.

Postal service engineers awarded the firm more than $5 million in contracts for repairs on USPS buildings in Michigan and New York, but "the documentation Rymar provided contained false and fraudulent statements, oftentimes dramatically and falsely overstating the amount he paid subcontractors to complete the repairs," federal officials said in a statement Thursday. 

The United States Postal Service post office downtown in Detroit.

He also falsely inflated the amount he paid his own employees and the cost of materials on USPS jobs, according to the release.

For example, from 2017-18, Rymar inflated the amount paid to subcontractors who worked on projects at post offices in Marquette; Iron Mountain; and Painted Post, N.Y., prosecutors reported. The inflated costs totaled almost $11,000.

During the scheme, authorities claim Rymar stole more than $1.2 million from USPS.

“The Postal Service spends hundreds of millions of dollars on new construction, maintenance, and renovations of facilities each year," said Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Cleevely of the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General. "Along with the Department of Justice, the USPS Office of Inspector General will aggressively investigate those who would engage in this type of fraud.”

Rymar faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The government also seeks restitution of the funds as well as forfeiture of his financial accounts, including two valued at more than $1.2 million.

“Today’s guilty plea shows our office’s commitment to protecting the public’s funds and to prosecute individuals who steal from government agencies," acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin said in a statement.