Florida Man Sentenced in San Jose, California for His Role in Household Goods Moving Company Extortion Scheme
On April 30, 2012, Christopher Sariol, an estimator for National Moving Network (NMN), an interstate moving broker with offices in Miami, Florida, pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of willfully failing to observe published moving tariffs in U.S. District Court, San Jose, California. Mr. Sariol and other NMN employees, and owners and employees from a San Jose-based moving company, AY Transport, Inc., participated in a "low-ball estimate" scheme, wherein NMN estimators quoted customers a low estimate to move their household goods, and upon taking custody of the customer's goods, raised the price to transport the goods to exorbitant rates. Mr. Sariol was sentenced to six months probation, and ordered to pay a $25 special assessment fee and $2,104 restitution to NMN and AY Transport victims.
In 2003, based on information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), OIG and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began investigating owners and employees of NMN and AY Transport. As part of its daily business practice, NMN booked moves nationwide and then referred a majority of the moves to AY Transport for the transportation of the household goods. Mr. Sariol provided inaccurate moving estimates to NMN customers and then took a deposit.
OIG has been investigating this case jointly with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service, with assistance from FMCSA.