On January 12, 2011, the District Attorney’s Office for Santa Clara County, California filed a felony complaint against Oren Avitan and other individuals, including his brother Yehuda Avitan charging them with conspiracy, extortion, attempted extortion and grand theft. Investigators believe that Avitan and his co‐conspirators lured numerous customers with artificially low moving estimates, and then extorted them by holding their household goods hostage until they paid fraudulently inflated prices.
Avitan worked for MTF Relocation, a California-based moving company. According to court documents, between January 2007 and January 2011, Avitan and his co-conspirators solicited business for MTF Relocation by offering artificially low estimates for moving prices. Once the customers' goods had been loaded onto the moving truck, Avitan and his co-conspirators would fraudulently inflate the total price of the move and held the goods “hostage”, demanding full payment of the inflated price before MTF would deliver the goods. To avoid the fall-out from negative reviews and consumer complaints lodged against MTF Relocation, Avitan changed the name of the business to “Best Local Relocation" and “Easy Local Movers".
In October and November 2009, Avitan and his co-conspirators extorted money from a customer related to a household move. They were unaware that this move was actually an undercover sting operation and that an undercover law enforcement officer was posing as the customer.
Oren Avitan was born in Israel and was last known to be residing in San Jose, California.