estimated losses of approximately £81 million.
Nine people have appeared in court over their alleged involvement in an £81 million fraud operation on the Royal Mail.
Eight of the defendants connected to four logistics companies are accused of abusing a self-declaration system for large postage firms by only declaring approximately a quarter of the mail actually sent through the post.
The defendants are from areas such as Slough, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and London.
Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that it went on over a period of nine years.
The alleged under-declaration allowed the perpetrators to make illegal profits and pass on some savings to customers in order to gain an advantageous market share.
The hearing was told that the alleged fraud took place between May 2008 and May 2017.
It caused the Royal Mail estimated losses of approximately £81 million.
No indication of pleas were given by any of the defendants.
They were all released on bail and the case will now be heard at Southwark Crown Court on January 7, 2021.
Six of the defendants were each charged with one count of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.
They were identified as Parmjeet Sandhu, aged 53, of Iver Buckinghamshire; Lakwinder Sekhon, aged 39, of Isleworth; Balginder Singh Sandhu, aged 43, of Slough; Daria Jankiewicz, aged 37, of Slough; Robert McSkimming, aged 33, of Aylesbury, and Katarzyna Struzynska, aged 34, of Slough.
Michelle Lucatello, aged 55, of Bicester, is accused of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation and conspiring to commit false accounting.
Narinder Sandhu, aged 59, of Beaconsfield, is accused of two counts of conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.
A ninth defendant, Jaswinder Sandhu, aged 58, of Beaconsfield, is charged with conspiring to commit false accounting over allegedly falsifying invoices.
The four companies which are involved in the alleged fraud are Packpost International Ltd; Global Express Worldwide Ltd; Tiger International Logistics Ltd and Worldwide Transport Express Ltd.
The four firms have been charged with conspiring together to commit fraud by false representation against postal operators intending to cause a loss to Royal Mail and other postal operators or to expose them to loss.
In a separate case, 550 sub-postmasters fought a legal battle where they accused the Post Office of having faults in their IT system, which led to shortfalls.
The errors had led to some being wrongly jailed for theft and false accounting.