Florida Individual Pleads Guilty in Moving Company Conspiracy
On August 23, 2022, Serghei Verlan pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to conspiracy in a racketeering enterprise—valued at between $1.5 and $3.5 million—to defraud more than 1,800 individuals throughout the United States. From April 2013 through July 2018, Verlan owned and operated various moving companies that defrauded, extorted, and stole from customers who hired the companies to move their household goods. Verlan provided or directed materially false statements to Federal regulators and third-party companies to further the scheme, and to customers in conducting affairs of the moving enterprise. Verlan was indicted in July 2018.
To obtain customers, Verlan’s companies provided low binding estimates and promised to beat their competitors' prices. After loading customers' goods, they increased their price of the move and held the goods hostage until customers paid the inflated prices. Some loads were not delivered at all. The enterprise also charged customers for moving more cubic feet of household goods than what were actually loaded. When customers complained, the enterprise 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.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.