It started out, according to court documents, on the up and up. Bradley Ward, owner of The Lone Star Shipping Company, agreed with FedEx to become an Authorized Shipping Center for the freight company. In exchange Lone Star received deep discounts on FedEx services and signage to put in front of the store.
That was in 2006. By April 2011, the company was delinquent on its FedEx accounts. FedEx dissolved its agreement with Ward and won an almost $19,000 judgement against his company in a September 2011 Dallas County Court judgement, the lawsuit says.
For most, that would have been the end of it. For Ward, it was just the beginning.
Lone Star never paid the judgement and Ward stopped making payments to FedEx. His business, however, didn't stop offering FedEx services, the shipping giant claims.
Ward simply opened a new account on the FedEx website. He didn't even bother to change the company's full address at 6611 Hillcrest Ave. In order to avoid cross-checking against his old, bad account, he just made up a new suite number. That was enough to fool FedEx fraud detection system, according to the suit.
When creating the new account, Ward also provided a different credit card number. The credit card, FedEx claims, was declined after Ward sent multiple packages using the account.
After the card was declined, FedEx closed the new account. So Ward opened another one. Over 50 times. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
He slightly modified the suite number on each account and cycled through a number of different credit cards. Each one was declined when FedEx first attempted to post charges -- which often ran in the thousands of dollars, according to the documents -- to it.
By the time FedEx caught on, in January of this year, Ward, FedEx claims, had received more than $70,000 in free shipping.
In a new lawsuit filed Thursday, FedEx is suing Ward for the loss of that revenue, fraud, trademark infringement and trademark dilution.
Unfair Park was able to briefly talk with Ward, but he said he wasn't aware of the lawsuit and declined to comment.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.