On July 25, 2018, a Federal grand jury in the Southern District of Ohio, indicted 12 individuals with conspiring in a racketeering enterprise to defraud the public using moving companies located throughout the United States, including Florida, Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, and Missouri. More than 900 customers have been identified as victims of the scheme thus far.
The indictment alleges that between April 2013 and July 2018, the defendants carried out their scheme using a number of affiliated moving companies: First National Moving and Storage, Public Moving and Storage, Flagship Van Lines, Public Moving Services, Independent Van Lines, Smart Relocation Solutions, JBR Underground, Trident Auto Shipping, National Relocation Van Lines, Unified Van Lines, National Relocation Solutions, United National Moving and Storage, Presidential Moving Services, and US Relocation Systems. The moving companies principally operated out of Hollywood, Florida, and had a warehouse in West Chester, Ohio.
To obtain customers, the moving companies allegedly provided low binding estimates and promised to beat their competitors’ prices. After loading customers’ goods onto the truck, they increased the price of the move, holding the goods hostage until customers paid the inflated prices. Some customer loads were not delivered at all. When customers complained, the defendants would shut down the latest iteration of the moving company and open a new one, falsifying information about the owners’ identities in order to fraudulently receive operating licenses from FMCSA.
On July 31, 2018, five of the twelve defendants—Andrey Shuklin, Phyllis Ricci Quincoces, Vladimir Pestereanu, Roman Iakovlev, and Jessica Martin—were arrested. Bearing Federal restraining orders to identify and protect victims’ property, authorities also secured seven warehouses.
DOT-OIG is working on this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Ohio.
Note: Indictments, informations, and criminal complaints are only accusations by the Government. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.