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Moving Company Employee Ordered to Pay $601,000 in Restitution from 2003 Fraud Scheme, Sentenced to Jail In Household Goods Case Involving $1.3 Million Loss

Rafi Rafael, a former driver/foreman for Apollo Van Lines (d/b/a Majesty Moving and Storage, Inc., Star Movers, Inc., America’s Best Movers Co., and First Class Moving and Storage, Inc.), Plantation, FL, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Miami to 51 months in jail and ordered to pay $601,000 in restitution for his part in a scheme to extort large sums of money from the company’s customers by holding their possessions hostage. Rafael pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy in September 2003. He is expected to be released to immigration officials for deportation to Israel following completion of his prison term. He is one of 18 persons charged in the case, which involves over 970 customers whose personal monetary losses exceed $1.3 million. This undercover investigation was conducted jointly with the FBI, with assistance from FMCSA.