On January 28, 2021, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Seth Nezat pleaded guilty to conspiring in a racketeering enterprise to defraud individuals throughout the United States. Beginning in or around February 2014, Nezat participated in a scheme that defrauded, extorted, and stole from customers who hired certain moving companies to move their household goods. To obtain customers, the moving companies allegedly provided low binding estimates and promised to beat their competitors’ prices. According to the investigation, the scheme involved the following steps: After loading a customer’s goods onto the truck, the company’s employees increased the price of the move, holding the goods hostage until the customer paid the inflated prices. They also charged customers for moving more cubic feet of household goods than they actually loaded and did not deliver some household goods at all. When customers complained, the conspirators 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 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The scheme defrauded more than 1,800 victims. In total, the conspiracy is valued at $1 million to $3.5 million.
DOT-OIG is working on this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.