Star Route Frauds, scandals in the U.S. Post Office Department in the 1880's. Certain department officials, mail contractors, and a former United States senator defrauded the government of about four million dollars in the granting of contracts for the transportation of mail over the so-called star routes. (These were western roads, designated on the map by an asterisk, where mail was carried by horse or wagon.) Worthless securities were sold to the government, unnecessary expenditures were made, and exorbitant fees were charged. Investigations led to 25 indictments. During 1882–83, trials revealed frauds on 93 routes, but no convictions were obtained.