A multimillion-dollar shipping company with offices in Miami and around the country stopped delivering people’s packages last year but continued taking their money, according to hundreds of angry customers who are now crying fraud.
The company, Medrano Express, also failed to pay a freight forwarder for a large shipment to Guatemala, according to a recent lawsuit.
Medrano Express, which has existed for 18 years, has since shuttered its location in Little Havana, leaving it packed with undelivered boxes and vans seemingly abandoned in the parking lot. Its managers and employees nationwide have all but disappeared, failing to respond to two Florida lawsuits and leaving phone calls unanswered at its corporate office in New York and most of its locations in 10 states.
Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 people from around the country, most of them Central American immigrants, have banded together on Facebook to decry the loss of their money and property and discuss taking action against Medrano.
Some disgruntled customers have already acted.
Rolando Castillo, 71, of Hialeah, filed a lawsuit against Medrano last month, charging that the company had failed to deliver $1,000 worth of goods to his home in Guatemala. The judge ruled in his favor after Medrano failed to appear in court.
“This company has not responded to me since December,” Castillo said. “Neither the owner nor any representative appeared in court.”
Castillo and other alleged victims said Medrano was a dependable company until last year. Castillo had shipped packages with them at least four times in the past.
Medrano Express was first registered in Hempstead, N.Y. in 1995. While New York State does not publicly list the names of corporate officers, in Florida the company is registered to Jorge A. Medrano, a resident of Hempstead.
Jorge Medrano did not respond to several phone calls placed to his publicly listed number.
According to the company’s website, the president and founder of Medrano Express is a “humble and hardworking man” from El Salvador who started the business in 1992, personally driving packages to Central America.
Some 16 years later, Medrano had an operating revenue of $8.6 million, according to the business database Orbis.
The company had between 15 and 30 locations around the country, as well as offices in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition to shipping packages by land, sea and air, it offers services for international phone calls, car insurance, money transfers and “free legal consultations” for everything from real estate to medical malpractice.
Medrano’s troubles seem to have started around last September. Between that month and February of this year, Medrano hired King Ocean Services, a Florida maritime cargo transporter, to deliver goods to Guatemala. According to a lawsuit filed by King Ocean in April, Medrano never paid for this work.
As in Castillo’s case, Medrano did not respond to the lawsuit, and a judge ordered the company to pay King Ocean $54,080.
Shortly after Medrano allegedly began failing to pay the freight forwarder, its customers started to complain that their packages were going missing. Customers claiming they were defrauded say they sent packages to El Salvador, Nicaragua and other countries as early as October that have yet to materialize.