In December of 2007, Barak Braunshtain, along with 13 others, was indicted on charges of conspiracy and extortion. Investigators believe that Braunshtain and his co‐conspirators lured over 1,000 customers with artificially low moving estimates, and then extorted them by holding their household goods hostage until they paid fraudulently inflated prices.
Braunshtain was a driver for AY Transport, Inc., a/k/a Progressive Van Lines a/k/a Midwest Relocation Services, a California-based moving company. According to court documents, between April 2001 to October 2005, Braunshtain's co-conspirators solicited business for AY Transport by offering artificially low estimates for moving prices. Braunshtain and other drivers typically rushed customers through the AY paperwork, causing them to sign blank or incomplete bills of lading and other documents. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, Braunshtain would inflate the total price of the move by fraudulently claiming that the customers' goods weighed more than had been originally estimated and/or by overcharging the customers for packing materials. This new, inflated price was often multiple times the initial estimate provided to the customer by AY.
Braunshtain and his co-conspirators would demand full payment of the inflated price before AY Transport would deliver their goods. He ignored customers' repeated complaints about the inflated price and when customers refused to pay the inflated price, Braunshtain and his co-conspirators arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the location of the goods to customers.
Braunshtain was born in Israel and was last known to be residing in Coconut Creek, Florida.
BRAUNSHTAIN IS CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS. DO NOT CONFRONT OR ATTEMPT TO APPREHEND. CONTACT USDOT-OIG OR LOCAL AUTHORITIES.