Federal grand jury indicts 12 in moving company racketeering case. See the full press release here.
JBR Underground LLC;
United National Moving and Storage;
National Relocation Solutions;
Independent Van Lines;
National Relocation Van Lines;
U.S. Relocation Systems;
First National Moving and Storage;
Public Moving and Storage;
Public Moving Services;
Smart Relocation Solutions;
Presidential Moving Services;
Unified Van Lines; and
Flagship Van Lines.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced this week that a federal grand jury indicted a dozen moving company employees who are accused of scamming more than 900 customers in Maryland and across the United States.
Authorities have arrested five individuals charged in federal court with conspiracy in a racketeering enterprise intended to defraud consumers who used the group’s moving companies.
The indictment alleged that the defendants executed a scheme between April 2013 through July 2018 to enrich themselves by stealing from customers who hired their moving companies to move their household goods.
Prosecutors say the employees wrote fake online reviews, lied to customers about the companies’ histories and routinely jacked up their prices after agreeing to lower prices with customers, according to a news release from the office of Benjamin C. Glassman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, who brought the charges
When potential customers contacted the defendants, the defendants would allegedly provide customers with low binding estimates to do their move, promising to beat their competitor’s prices. After the customers agreed to hire the moving companies, employees of the moving companies would allegedly load the customers’ goods onto the truck and then bump the price of the move. Under federal regulations, in a binding estimate a customer and the motor carrier must both agree in writing to a charge for services prior to the start of any work. When an estimate is binding, USDOT prevents interstate carriers from raising the price of the move after loading customers’ items.
The defendants and the moving companies would allegedly refuse to give back the household goods until customers paid the inflated prices. If customers did not pay the inflated prices on the moves, it is alleged, the defendants would, in some cases, steal the customers’ household goods, never delivering them.
If you believe you are a victim of this fraudulent activity, please call the Victim Hotline at 1-800-424-9071 or email [email protected]