Texas Man Pleads Guilty and is Sentenced for Household Goods Moving Fraud
On June 25, 2014, Jovan Balknight pleaded guilty in a household goods moving fraud scheme and was sentenced in Harris County, Texas, to 2 years in jail and ordered to pay $22,204 in restitution.
Between May 2009 and January 2012, Balknight, along with others, lured customers into doing business with various moving companies by offering extremely low moving estimates. After taking possession of the customers' household goods, the price was significantly increased and delivery of their household goods was withheld until the customers paid the fraudulently inflated price. In addition, customers were threatened that if they refused to pay, their household goods would be auctioned.
Balknight had been on the run for nearly two years, but was recently arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after being featured on DOT OIG’s Most Wanted Fugitives list, http://www.oig.dot.gov/wanted-fugitives.
We conducted this investigation with the Houston and Austin, Texas, Police Departments, with assistance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.