On July 16, 2019, Richard Bishara entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court, Newark, New Jersey, to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charge relates to his role as an owner and operator in a number of moving companies involved in a household goods moving fraud scheme.
The information alleges that Bishara and his co-conspirators jointly controlled and operated a number of New Jersey-based moving companies (target companies). The target companies were separate legal entities, but shared bank accounts, post office boxes, employees, and an office space. The co-conspirators would quote customers “low ball” price estimates for moving household goods, and then raise prices after the goods were loaded on trucks, and the customers were in vulnerable positions. Between 2013 and 2015, the target companies handled hundreds of moves, raising their final prices above the maximum amount that Federal regulations allow. To avoid detection by law enforcement, Bishara and his co-conspirators created various moving companies and registered them with fictitious owner names and addresses. When customers complained about one target company, the co-conspirators would shut it down and create a new one.
This case is being investigated by DOT-OIG, HSI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.