Three Operators of Household Moving Companies Arrested in Extortion Scheme
February 20, 2002
Three men who head four Brooklyn, NY, moving companies were arrested on conspiracy charges for repeatedly luring customers with artificially low moving estimates, only to threaten to hold their household goods hostage until substantial additional payment was made. Those charged were Avinoam Damti, Barry Minsky, and Ofer Yosef, all residents of the New York metropolitan area, who allegedly controlled On-Time Van Lines Moving and Storage, Newstart Moving Inc., Starving Students Moving and Storage, and Official Moving and Storage. The three were arrested immediately before a warrant was executed to search their Brooklyn, NY business premises. The investigation also disclosed web sites the defendants used to attract customers, including flatpricemove.com, goodmovers.com, interstatemoving.com, newstartmoving.com, and officialmoving.com. The investigation was conducted by OIG and the FBI, with assistance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.