May 29, 2018
New Jersey Moving Company Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
On May 29, 2018, Maximo Beras of Kearny, New Jersey, was charged via information to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and entered a plea of guilty in U.S. District Court, Newark, New Jersey. Beras accepted responsibility for his role in a conspiracy to obtain money from customers of various moving companies through false and fraudulent pretenses.
This investigation was initiated in September 2012 following complaints that a moving company was engaged in a complex scheme to defraud and overcharge its customers. Beras and his co-conspirators would provide low-cost estimates, but then held the household goods hostage until their customers agreed to pay exorbitant fees. To avoid detection by law enforcement, Beras and the others set up chameleon companies, which appear to be legitimate moving companies but are established to extort customers. Once people complain, the company is shut down and transformed into a new one.
Further investigation revealed that Beras also participated in a conspiracy to defraud five banks using a check-kiting scheme. From September 2010 to June 2014, the co-conspirators opened or controlled 27 bank accounts at the 5 different banks, Beras and other company executives and employees wrote checks from bank accounts they knew contained insufficient funds, deposited the checks into other bank accounts, and then withdrew the funds before the banks could discover the scheme. The current loss amount is calculated at approximately $2.4 million.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.