April 15, 2020
South Florida Moving Company and Its Owner Fined $1.05 Million for Deceptive Practices
On April 15, 2020, a final civil judgment was entered against Yehoshua Vaknin and his company US Moving Services Inc., d/b/a as Safeway Moving & Storage, in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. The consent final judgment and stipulated permanent injunction totaled $1,055,455, consisting of $326,000 in restitution against Vaknin and $729,455 in restitution, corporate penalties, and fees against US Moving Services Inc.
The judgement responded to the Florida Attorney General’s Office December 2018 civil complaint filings against seven individuals and their respective companies—a total of 19 household goods companies or their affiliated entities—for deceptive moving practices. The Federal civil filing was part of a joint household goods investigation aimed at various household goods moving companies. The Florida Attorney General's Office completed the filings reports in furtherance of Federal and State civil prosecution. The complaints allege the moving companies deliberately loaded people's belongings onto a truck, raised prices, and forced customers to pay before releasing the items. The moving companies, located in Broward and Dade counties, allegedly used false or deceptive advertising to entice consumers to purchase moving services. The companies claimed the services would be performed by highly trained professional or expert movers. However, untrained laborers regularly performed the moves, and they often caused damage to, destroyed, or stole the consumers' property. Also, many consumers allegedly received low-price and binding estimates from the companies.
DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division.