Former Moving Company Estimator Sentenced for His Role in a Household Goods Scheme
On May 25, 2012, Stuart Sheinfield, estimator for National Moving Network (NMN), an interstate moving broker with offices in Miami, Florida, pled guilty in U.S. District Court, San Jose, California. Mr. Sheinfield pled guilty to a charge of willfully failing to observe published moving tariffs. Mr. Sheinfield and other NMN employees, along with owners and employees from a San Jose based moving company, AY Transport, Inc., participated in a "low-ball estimate" scheme. NMN estimators quoted customers a low estimate to move their household goods, and after taking custody of the customer's goods, AY Transport raised the price to transport the goods to exorbitant rates. Mr. Sheinfield and other NMN employees were aware that AY Transport was engaging in household goods fraud and yet continued to book customers for them. Mr. Sheinfield was sentenced to 12 months probation, and ordered to pay $4900 in restitution to his victims.
As part of its daily business practice, NMN booked moves nationwide, referring a majority of the moves to AY Transport. Mr. Sheinfield acknowledged providing inaccurate estimates to NMN customers and taking deposits from them. He also admitted to placating customers who had been defrauded. After assuring the customers he would help them, he then instructed NMN customer service representatives to say that he no longer worked there in an effort to help AY Transport and NMN avoid civil or criminal action.
OIG has been investigating this case jointly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service, with assistance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.