• Report: #93415

Complaint Review: Advanced Moving

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  • Submitted: Wed, June 02, 2004
  • Updated: Wed, June 02, 2004

  • Reported By:11758 New York
Advanced Moving
www.advancedmove.com , Florida U.S.A.

Advanced Moving FBI files charges and the major players are going to Jail Sunrise Florida

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For Immediate Release
March 4, 2003
Miami, FL
(305) 944-9101


16 MOVING COMPANIES AND 74 OPERATORS, OWNERS AND EMPLOYEES INDICTED ON CHARGES OF FRAUD AND EXTORTION


Marcos Daniel Jimnez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Hector M. Pesquera, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); William P. Tompkins, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General, announced today that federal grand juries sitting in the Southern District of Florida returned 8 separate indictments charging sixteen moving companies and seventy-four individual owners, operators and employees in connection with schemes that lured customers into doing business with the companies by offering low estimates and then fraudulently inflating the price of the move and withholding delivery of their goods until customers paid the inflated price.

The Indictments charge conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 371; and multiple counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2; extortion, in violation of Title18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2; mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1341 and 2; and making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116, and Title 18, U.S.C. Section 2. Some defendants have also been charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h).

Conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States, wire fraud, mail fraud and making a false bill of lading carry a maximum term of 5 years' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years' of supervised release as to each count charged in the Indictment. Extortion carries a maximum term of 20 years' imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years' supervised release as to each count charged in the Indictment. Money laundering carries a maximum term of 20 years' imprisonment, a $500,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved, and three years' supervised release as to each count charged in the Indictment. The moving companies face a fine of up to $500,000 for each count charged in the Indictment.

In general, the defendants engaged in the following scheme. A defendant moving company would represent itself to the public as a reputable and long-established moving company. Owners, operators or employees of the defendant companies provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire the company to move their goods. Once the customer retained the company, the company's employees would arrive at the customer's home, pack the customer's belongings in a moving truck, and then typically rush the customers through the paperwork, causing them to sign blank or incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failing to inform them of the total price of the move. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, the defendants would fraudulently inflate the total price of the move, often by thousands of dollars, claiming that the customers' goods occupied more cubic feet than had been originally estimated and/or by overcharging the customers for packing materials. When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, the defendants demanded full payment of the inflated price before delivery of the goods.

In many cases, the defendants would ignore customers' repeated complaints about the inflated price and/or lied to the customers about the delivery of their goods, often using false names when dealing with customers over the telephone and in writing. When customers refused to pay the inflated price, the defendants arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the location of the goods to customers. In some cases, the companies would refuse to adequately compensate customers for any damaged or undelivered goods.

Also, as part of this FBI investigation dubbed Operation Stow Biz, undercover agents posed in some cases as potential customers interested in moving their belongings. In each case, the moving company provided an estimate before loading the household goods into moving trucks. On each occasion, the moving company would later fraudulently inflate the price of the move and would thereafter refuse to deliver the goods until the inflated price was paid. In some cases, the inflated price was well over twice the original estimate.

Although the Indictments charge sixteen companies, the individual defendants charged are the listed owners and/or operators of over forty different moving companies. In addition to the undercover operation, the Indictments identify eighty-two victims whose moves were fraudulently inflated by thousands of dollars.

As of the time of this release, the FBI has arrested forty-six defendants, all but six of which were arrested in the South Florida area. The FBI is continuing to make arrests.


B. INDICTMENTS BY THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

1. U.S. v. Advanced Moving Systems, a/k/a Advanced Moving System, Zion Rokah, a/k/a Jonathan Rokah, Tamir Cohen, a/k/a Tony and Tommy Chance, Odelia Shmuelov, a/k/a Odelia Shmuilov and Odelia Vale, Susanne Schwedhelm, a/k/a Suzanne, Diana Bar, a/k/a Diana Bel, Choni Aloul, a/k/a Sean, Guy Ashkenazi, Ronen Bar, a/k/a Ronnie, Eddei Benita, a/k/a Eddy, Oshri Cohen, a/k/a Osheri Cohen, Yehiel Cohen, a/k/a Jessie, Mordechay Evgi, Itzhak Luzon, a/k/a Isaac, Shlomo Molaim, a/k/a Sam and Sammy, Eli Peretz, Lior Rafael, Yosef Schvartzman, a/k/a Joseph, Eyal Zeira, a/k/a Adam, Yaron Israel, a/k/a Ron, Rafi Rafael, a/k/a Joe, Criminal Case No. 03-60032-Cr-Marra.

On February 11, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Miami returned an Indictment charging Advanced Moving Systems, (a/k/a Advanced Moving System) (AMS), a moving company with offices in Sunrise, Florida, and twenty of its officers and employees with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1343; (b) mail fraud, in violation of Title, 18 U.S.C. Section 1341; (c) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1951; and (d) making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116. The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with AMS by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price to AMS.

Specifically, defendant AMS represented itself to the public as a reputable and long-established moving company. Defendants Odelia Shmuelov and Susanne Schwedhelm and other AMS employees provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire AMS to move their goods. Defendants Zion Rokah and Tamir Cohen supervised loading foremen, who typically rushed the customers through the AMS paperwork, causing them to sign blank or incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failed to inform them of the total price of the move. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, the foremen would inflate the total price of the move by claiming that the customers' goods occupied more cubic feet than had been originally estimated by AMS and/or by overcharging the customers for packing materials. When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, defendants Zion Rokah, Tamir Cohen, and other AMS employees demanded full payment of the inflated price before AMS would deliver the goods.

Defendants Zion Rokah, Tamir Cohen, Odelia Shmuelov, Diana Bar and other AMS employees ignored customers' repeated complaints about the inflated price and/or lied to the customers about the delivery of their goods, often using false names when dealing with customers over the telephone and in writing. When customers refused to pay the inflated price, defendants Zion Rokah, Tamir Cohen, and other AMS employees arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the location of the goods to customers. When delivering the customers' goods, the foremen, acting under the direction of defendants Zion Rokah, Tamir Cohen, and other AMS employees, demanded that customers pay any outstanding balance before they would unload the customers' goods. Defendants Zion Rokah, Tamir Cohen, Diana Bar, and other AMS employees refused to adequately compensate customers for any damaged or undelivered goods. Defendants Yaron Israel and Rafi Rafael accepted contract jobs on which AMS had previously provided low estimates to customers. Thereafter, defendants Yaron Israel and Rafi Rafael, through their respective companies, Dolphin Relocation Services and Professional Movers, demanded full payment of the inflated price before delivering the customers' goods.

The investigation into the activities of AMS included an undercover operation during which defendant Odelia Shmuelov, using the name Odelia Vale, e-mailed an undercover agent (UCA) with the FBI an estimate of $1,248 to move the UCA's goods from Florida to Georgia. In August 2001, defendant Eli Peretz and other AMS employees arrived at the UCA's home in Fort Lauderdale and asked a cooperating witness (CW), acting as the UCA's representative for the move, to sign documents, including a bill of lading, without explaining to the CW what was being signed. After the UCA's goods had been loaded, defendant Eli Peretz, who supervised the UCA's move, inflated the price of the move on the bill of lading to $3,759. Thereafter, defendant Tamir Cohen told the UCA by telephone that the UCA's goods would not be delivered unless the inflated price was paid to AMS.

The Indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in similar schemes with sixteen victims, and inflated the original estimate of their move by over $68,000.

In addition, the Indictment charges Odelia Shmuelov, Zion Rokah, Susanne Schwedhelm, Tamir Cohen, Rafi Rafael, Shlomo Molaim, Yaron Israel, and Diana Bar with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2. Defendants Zion Rokah and Tamir Cohen are charged with substantive counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1341 and 2. All twenty defendants are also charged with substantive counts of extortion, in violation of Title18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2.

Defendants Eyal Zeira, Mordechay Evgi, Lior Rafael, Eli Peretz, Itzhak Luzon, Ronen Bar, Yehiel Cohen, Choni Aloul, and Oshri Cohen are charged with substantive counts of making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. 80116 and Title 18, U.S.C. Section 2. In addition, AMS and Zion Rokah are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h).

Finally, the 60-count Indictment includes a forfeiture provision for at least $1,000,000, in addition to two parcels of land, four moving trucks, and five bank accounts.
2. U.S. v. Majesty Moving & Storage, Inc., Apollo Van Lines, Inc., America's Best Movers Company, First Class Moving, Inc., The Movers Express, Inc., Star Movers, Inc., Yair Malol, a/k/a "Yanni," "Charlie Levy," "Danny Malol," "Allen Mallul," and "Zahi Melul," Yosef Zaguri, a/k/a "Joe Vekin," J.V., and "Joe," Jennifer Tafuri Vaknin, Shani Humphreys, a/k/a "Shannon," Avraham Ohayon, a/k/a "Avi,"And "Harvey," Timna Levy, a/k/a "Tina," Shimon Buhdana, Shay Cohen, Nissim Edri, a/k/a "Miko," Guy Kalev, Neil Shlomo Liebich, Michel Malka, Sivan Maoz, a/k/a "Steven," Rafi Rafael, Hod Shlit, a/k/a "Tom," and "Tommy," Izezo Uzi Elena, a/k/a "Oz," Assaf Khuri, a/k/a "Tom," Shabtai Shay Mashiah, Criminal Case No. 03-20157-Cr-King.

On February 20, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Miami returned an Indictment charging Majesty Moving & Storage, Inc., a moving company with offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Apollo Van Lines, Inc., a moving company with offices in Plantation, Florida, America's Best Movers Company, a moving company with offices in Sunrise, Florida, First Class Moving, Inc., a moving company with offices in Sunrise, Florida, The Movers Express, Inc., a moving company with offices in Plantation, Florida, and Star Movers, Inc., a moving company with offices in Sunrise, Florida, as well as 18 officers and employees of those companies with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1343; (b) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1951; and (c) making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116.

The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with the defendant companies by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price to the moving company.

Specifically, defendants Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star represented themselves to the public as reputable and long-established moving companies. Defendants Shani Humphreys, Avraham Ohayon, Timna Levy, and other Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star employees provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star to move their goods. Defendant Shabtai Shay Mashiah, through First Class, also provided estimates for moves, which were conducted by Majesty.

Defendants Yair Malol, Yosef Zaguri, and other Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star employees supervised loading foremen, who rushed the customers through the companies' paperwork, causing them to sign blank or incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failed to inform the customers of the total price of the move. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, the foremen would fraudulently inflate the total price of the move by claiming that the customers' goods occupied more cubic feet than had been originally estimated by the companies and/or by overcharging the customers for packing materials.

When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, defendants Yair Malol, Yosef Zaguri, and other Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star employees demanded full payment of the inflated price before the companies would deliver the goods. Defendants Yair Malol, Yosef Zaguri, Jennifer Tafuri Vaknin, Shani Humphreys, Avraham Ohayon, Timna Levy, and other Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star employees ignored customers' repeated complaints about the inflated price and/or misled the customers about the delivery of their goods, often using false names when dealing with customers over the telephone and in writing. When customers refused to pay the inflated price, defendants Yair Malol, Yosef Zaguri, and other Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star employees arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the location of the goods to customers.

When delivering the customers' goods, the foremen, acting under the direction of defendants Yair Malol, Yosef Zaguri, and other Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star employees demanded that customers pay any outstanding balance before they would unload the customers' goods. In addition, defendants Yair Malol, Yosef Zaguri, Jennifer Tafuri Vaknin, and other Majesty, Apollo, America's Best, First Class, Movers Express, and Star employees refused to adequately compensate customers for any damaged or undelivered goods. Finally, the Indictment alleges that defendant Assaf Khuri accepted contract jobs from Majesty, on which Majesty had previously provided low estimates to customers. Thereafter, defendant Assaf Khuri, through STAR, demanded full payment of the inflated price that Majesty claimed it was owed before delivering the customers' goods.

In one case identified in the Indictment, defendant Timna Levy, using the name "Tina," sent an e-mail to a victim, identified as J.F. in the Indictment, conveying an estimate of $2,785 to move J.F.'s and another victim's goods from Ohio to Arizona. Defendant Sivan Maoz supervised the loading of the victims' goods, after which defendant Sivan Maoz gave J.F. a blank bill of lading for his signature.

Defendant Yosef Zaguri, using the name "Joe," spoke by telephone to the victims in Ohio and inflated the price of the move to more than $9,800. Defendant Sivan Maoz refused to deliver the victims' goods unless they paid the balance that Majesty claimed it was owed.

The Indictment alleges that the defendants similarly attempted to defraud an undercover agent and defrauded seventeen identified victims. In total, the defendants inflated the original estimate of these victims' moves by over $41,000, in most cases almost doubling or tripling the original cost.

In addition to the conspiracy count, the Indictment charges Yair Malol, Jennifer Tafuri Vaknin, Guy Kalev, Avraham Ohayon, Yosef Zaguri, Timna Levy, Assaf Khuri, and Shani Humphreys with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2. Defendants Yair Malol, Izezo Uzi Elena, Guy Kalev, Yosef Zaguri, Michel Malka, Sivan Maoz, Avraham Ohayon, Shimon Buhdana, Assaf Khuri, and Hod Shlit are charged with substantive counts of extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2. Defendants Yair Malol, Izezo Uzi Elena, Nissim Edri, Rafi Rafael, Shay Cohen, Michel Malka, Sivan Maoz and Hod Shlit are charged with substantive counts of making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116 and Title 18, U.S.C. Section 2. In addition, the six companies and defendant Yair Malol are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h).

Finally, the 36-count Indictment includes a forfeiture provision for at least $1,000,000, in addition to one parcel of land, six moving trucks and four bank accounts.

3. U.S. v. All Points USA Relocation Systems, Inc., Moshe Bachar, a/k/a Mike," Edmond Ben-Ami, Rafael Assoulin, a/k/a "Ralph Smith," Sharon Elmakias, a/k/a "Sean Garland," Firas Hleihil, a/k/a "Phil Cooper"and "Phil Hleihil," Baruch Shalit, a/k/a "Ben Rosen" and "Bibi," Wanderson Da Silva, a/k/a Anderson, Criminal Case No. 03-60030-Cr-Marra.

On February 13, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Ft. Lauderdale returned an Indictment charging All Points USA Relocation Systems, Inc. (All Points), a moving company with offices in Pembroke Park, Florida, and seven of its officers and employees with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1343; (b) mail fraud, in violation of Title18, U.S.C. Section 1341; (c) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1951; and (d) weight-bumping, in violation of Title 49, United States Code, Section 14912. The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with All Points by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price to All Points.

Specifically, defendant All Points represented itself to the public as a reputable and long-established moving company. Defendants Rafael Assoulin, Sharon Elmakias, Firas Hleihil, Baruch Shalit, and other All Points employees fraudulently provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire defendant All Points to move their goods. Defendants Moshe Bachar, Edmond Ben-Ami, and other All Points employees supervised loading foremen who, at the times of the loading of the customers' goods, pressured the All Points customers to sign blank and incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failed to inform the customers of the total price of the move. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, defendants Wanderson Da Silva, Raphael Assoulin, Sharon Elmakias, Edmond Ben-Ami, Firas Hleihil, Baruch Shalit, Moshe Bachar, and other All Points employees would inflate the total price of the move by falsely claiming that the customers' goods weighed more than had been originally estimated by defendant All Points and by overcharging the customers for packing materials. When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, defendants Moshe Bachar, Edmond Ben-Ami, and other All Points employees demanded full payment of the inflated price before defendant All Points would deliver the goods.

Defendants Rafael Assoulin, Sharon Elmakias, Firas Hleihil, Baruch Shalit, and other All Points employees ignored customers' repeated complaints about the inflated prices and lied to the customers about the delivery of their goods. Defendants Moshe Bachar, Edmond Ben-Ami, and other All Points employees prepared false weight tickets and provided them to customers. When customers refused to pay the inflated price, defendant Edmond Ben-Ami and other All Points employees arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the locations of the goods to customers. When delivering the customers' goods, All Points foremen, acting under the direction of defendants Moshe Bachar, Edmond Ben-Ami, and other All Points employees, demanded that customers pay any outstanding balances as fraudulently determined by All Points before they would unload the customers' goods. Defendants Moshe Bachar, Edmond Ben-Ami, and other All Points employees refused to compensate customers adequately for any damaged and undelivered goods.

The Indictment outlines one such scheme in August 2002, when an All Points employee, using the name Ron, had a telephone conversation with a victim, identified as V.M. in the Indictment, in which Ron provided the victim with an estimate of $1,225 to move 3,500 pounds of the victim's goods from New York to Florida. Later that month, an All Points crew loaded the victim's goods for the move to Florida. An All Points foreman inflated the price of the move to $7,700, and told the victim that he would have to pay 75% of the inflated price in cash immediately. When the victim told the All Points foreman that he could not afford the inflated price and requested that the All Points foreman offload the truck, the All Points foreman told the victim that it would cost $3,200 to offload the truck. The victim declined to pay the $3,200, and the All Points foreman left with V.M.'s goods. An All Points employee, using the name Fred, told the victim that he would have to pay $7,700. Another defendant, Edmond Ben-Ami, also told the victim that the longer he waited to pay, the more likely that damage to his goods would occur.

The Indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in similar schemes to defraud thirteen victims, and inflated the original estimate of their move by a total of over $40,300. Also, as part of the investigation, an undercover agent of the FBI posed as a customer of All Points. In that case, All Points similarly attempted to defraud the undercover agent.

The Indictment charges all seven defendants with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2; and extortion, in violation of Title18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2. Defendants Moshe Bachar, Edmond Ben-Ami, and Firas Hleihil are charged with substantive counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1341 and 2. Defendants All Points, Moshe Bachar, and Edmond Ben-Ami are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h). Finally, the Indictment includes a forfeiture provision for at least $1,000,000, in addition to three parcels of land, and four bank accounts.

4. U.S. v. Century Express Van Lines, Boris Gavergun, a/k/a "Bob Gordan," Jenny Shenaider, a/k/a "Jenny Shneider and "Jenny Schneider," Avishag Simon, a/k/a "Shugi Simon," Atalya Yassori Shimonov, Eliyahu Shimonov, a/k/a Eliahu Shimonov and "Eli," Shai Oren, Gaston Saleme, a/k/a "Tony," Criminal Case No. 03-60034-Cr-Hurley.

On February 18, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Ft. Lauderdale returned an Indictment charging Century Express Van Lines (Century), a moving company with offices and a warehouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and seven of its officers and employees with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1343; (b) mail fraud, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section1341; (c) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1951; and (d) making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116. The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with the moving companies by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price.

Specifically, Century represented itself to the public as a reputable and long-established moving company. Defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, Avishag Simon, Atalya Yassori Shimonov, and other Century employees provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire Century to move their goods. Defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, and other Century employees supervised loading foremen, who typically rushed the customers through the Century paperwork, causing them to sign blank or incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failed to inform them of the total prices of the moves.

Once the customers' goods had been loaded, the foremen would inflate the total prices of the moves by claiming that the customers' goods occupied more cubic feet than had been originally estimated by Century and by overcharging the customers for packing materials. When delivering the customers' goods, the foremen, acting under the direction of defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, and other Century employees, demanded that customers pay any outstanding balances before they would unload the customers' goods.

When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, Atalya Yassori Shimonov, and other Century employees demanded full payment of the increased prices before Century would deliver the goods.

Defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, Atalya Yassori Shimonov, Avishag Simon, and other Century employees ignored customers' repeated complaints about the increased prices and lied to the customers about the delivery of their goods. When customers refused to pay the increased prices, defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, and other Century employees arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the locations of the goods to customers. Defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, and other Century employees refused to adequately compensate customers for any damaged or undelivered goods.

In one case outlined in the Indictment, defendant Avishag Simon in Florida faxed a victim, identified in the Indictment as D.K., an estimate of $5,175 to move his goods from Connecticut to Florida. In July 2002, defendant Shai Oren supervised the loading of the victim's goods in Connecticut, after which defendant Shai Oren increased the price of the move to $12,000 on the bill of lading. Defendant Atalya Yassori Shimonov spoke by telephone with the victim in Florida and stated that if he did not wire transfer money to Century, his goods would not be delivered.

The Indictment identifies seven victims whose moves were inflated by a total of over $18,600.

In addition to the conspiracy count, the Indictment charges Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, Avishag Simon, Gaston Saleme, and Eliyahu Shimonov with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2. Defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, and Atalya Yassoor Shimonov are charged with substantive counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1341 and 2. Defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, Gaston Saleme, Atalya Yassoor Shimonov, and Avishag Simon are charged with extortion, in violation of Title18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2. Defendants Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider, Gaston Saleme, Shai Oren, and Eliyahu Shimonov are charged with substantive counts of making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116 and Title 18, U.S.C. Section 2. In addition, Boris Gavergun, Jenny Shenaider and Century are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h). Finally, the Indictment includes a forfeiture provision for at least $1,000,000, in addition to one parcel of land, three moving trucks and six bank accounts.

5. U.S. v. Elite Van Lines Moving & Storage, Inc., Eyal Malul, a/k/a "Ben Levy," Mordechay Evgi, a/k/a "David" and "Moti," Kessey Esteves, Izabella Maria Fonseca, a/k/a "Izabella Vianna," Claudio Descart, Sergio Descart, Golan Eliatim, Yuval Perez, Criminal Case No. 03-60033-Cr-Middlebrooks.

On February 18, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Ft. Lauderdale returned an Indictment charging Elite Van Lines Moving & Storage, Inc. (Elite), a moving company with offices in Sunrise and Plantation, Florida, and eight of its officers and employees with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1343; (b) mail fraud, in violation of Title 18 U.S.C. Section1341; and (c) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1951. The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with the moving companies by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price.

Specifically, the Indictment alleges that Elite represented itself to the public as a moving company committed to quality service. Defendants Kessey Esteves, Izabella Maria Fonseca, and other Elite employees fraudulently provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire Elite to move their goods. Defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and other Elite employees supervised loading foremen, who pressured the Elite customers to sign blank and incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failed to inform the customers of the total prices of the moves. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, the foremen would inflate the total prices of the moves by falsely claiming that the customers' goods occupied more cubic feet than had been originally estimated by Elite and by overcharging the customers for packing materials. When delivering the customers' goods, the foremen, acting under the direction of defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and other Elite employees, demanded that the customers pay any outstanding balances fraudulently determined by Elite before they would unload the customers' goods.

When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and other Elite employees demanded full payment of the inflated prices before Elite would deliver the goods. Defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and other Elite employees ignored customers' repeated complaints about the inflated prices and lied to the customers about the delivery of their goods, often using false names when dealing with customers over the telephone and in writing. When customers refused to pay the inflated prices, defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and other Elite employees arranged to warehouse customers' goods, and refused to divulge the locations of the goods to customers. Defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and other Elite employees refused to compensate customers adequately for any damaged or undelivered goods.

In one case outlined in the Indictment, defendant Izabella Maria Fonseca faxed a victim, identified as L.C., an estimate of $1,780 to move her goods from a storage unit in Michigan to California. An Elite crew loaded part of the victim's goods from a storage unit in Michigan, after which the foreman inflated the price of the move to $5,000, based on additional cubic feet and packing materials.

Defendants Eyal Malul, using the name Ben, and Mordechay Evgi, using the name David, in a telephone conversation with the victim refused to deliver the goods unless she paid the inflated price Elite claimed it was owed. The next month, Elite delivered some damaged goods to the victim after she agreed to pay $3,000.

The Indictment alleges that the defendants similar attempted to defraud an undercover agent and did defraud a total of ten identified victims. In total, the defendants inflated the original estimate of these victims' moves by over $22,600.

In addition to the conspiracy count, the Indictment charges Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and Kessey Esteves with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2. Defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, and Isabella Maria Fonseca are charged with substantive counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1341 and 2. Defendants Eyal Malul, Mordechay Evgi, Yuval Perez, Golan Eliatim, Sergio Descart and Claudio Descart are charged with etortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2. Defendant Yuval Perez is charged with four substantive counts of making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116 and Title 18, U.S.C. Section 2. In addition, Elite and Eyal Malul are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h).

6. U.S. v. Express Van Lines, Niv Borsuk, a/k/a"Steve Brous," Meir Perez, a/k/a "Mike," Adi Meirovitch, a/k/a "Julie Tal," Ilanit Fitoussi, a/k/a "Ally Monroe," Elizabeth Hartenberger, a/k/a "Libby Harte," Criminal Case No. 03-20138-Cr-Marra.

On February 13, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Miami returned an Indictment charging Express Van Lines (Express), a moving company with offices in Miami, Florida, and five of its officers and employees with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1343; and (b) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1951. The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with the moving companies by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price.

Specifically, the Indictment alleges that Express falsely represented itself to the public as a reputable and reliable moving company. Defendants Elizabeth Hartenberger, Ilanit Fitoussi, and other Express employees provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire defendant Express to move their goods. Defendant Express employees would load customers' goods on to the moving truck, and then demand a fee substantially in excess of the price originally quoted to customers.

Defendants Niv Borsuk, Adi Meirovitch, and other Express employees would demand payment of the inflated price before defendant Express would deliver the goods. When customers refused to pay the inflated price, defendants Niv Borsuk, Meir Perez, and other Express employees arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the location of the goods to customers.

Defendants Niv Borsuk, Meir Perez, Adi Meirovitch, and other Express employees would often fail to deliver customers' goods even after the inflated payment had been made to defendant Express. Defendants Niv Borsuk, Adi Meirovitch, and other Express employees refused to adequately compensate customers for any damaged or undelivered goods.

In one scheme outlined in the Indictment, defendant Ilanit Fitoussi, using the name "Ally Monroe," sent an e-mail to a victim identified as K.Z. in April 2001, providing an estimate of $1,540 to move the victim's goods from Georgia to Utah. Defendant Express charged $308 to the victim's credit card as a deposit on the planned move. In late April 2001, Express employees loaded the victim's goods in Georgia and then departed without leaving a bill of lading and without providing the price of the move.

In early May 2001, defendant Ilanit Fitoussi, using the name Ally Monroe, spoke by telephone to the victim in Utah and told her that her goods were in storage in Florida, not on their way to Utah, and that there was a problem with the original estimate provided. During that same time, defendant Niv Borsuk, using the name Steve, spoke by telephone to the victim in Utah and told her that the price of her move had been increased to $4,435.

Between May and August 2001, defendant Niv Borsuk, again using the name Steve, spoke by telephone to the victim in Utah and told her that her goods would not be delivered unless she paid the inflated price. During that same time frame, defendant Adi Meirovitch, using the name Julie Tal, demanded that the victim pay the inflated price before her goods would be delivered, asking Don't you want your stuff?

In August 2001, defendant Adi Meirovitch, using the name Julie Tal, sent a facsimile from Florida to the victim in Utah agreeing that the new price of the move was $3,158 and requiring the victim to pay 50% of the remaining balance before her goods would be scheduled for delivery. The victim sent a facsimile to defendant Adi Meirovitch, under the name Julie Tal, in Florida authorizing a charge of 50% of the remaining balance, or $1,425, to one of her credit cards. Defendant Express charged $1,425 to the credit card but never delivered K.Z.'s goods.

In addition, the Indictment also alleges that the defendants similarly attempted to defraud an undercover agent of the FBI that was posing as a customer, and did defraud five victims. In those cases, the defendants inflated the original estimate of the victims' moves by over $6,800.

The Indictment charges Niv Borsuk, Ilanit Fitoussi, Elizabeth Hartenberger, Adi Meirovitch, and Meir Perez with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2. Defendants Niv Borsuk and Adi Meirovitch are charged with extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2. Finally, Express and Niv Borsuk are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h).

7. U.S. v. Moving Systems, Inc., a/k/a "Moving System," AAA Van Lines, Inc., Ameri Van Lines, Inc., Si Trucking, Inc., Simo Elbaz, a/k/a Simon Miller, "Jonathan Miller," and "Simon Elbaz," Yehiel Toledano, a/k/a "Jay" and "Ben Cohen," Moran Shepkaru, a/k/a "Lorain S." and "Moran S.," Hanania Dahan, a/k/a "Hank," Moshe Elmakias, a/k/a "Moses Makias," Muin Naserat, a/k/a "Tony," Ronen Ovadia, a/k/a "Ron," Criminal Case No. 03-20139-Cr-Marra.

On February 13, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Miami returned an Indictment charging Moving Systems, Inc., a/k/a "Moving System," a moving company with offices in North Miami Beach, Florida, AAA Van Lines, Inc., a moving company with offices in North Miami Beach, Florida, Ameri Van Lines, Inc., a moving company with offices in Miami, Florida, and SI Trucking, Inc., a moving company with offices in Miami, Florida, and seven of its officers and employees with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1343; (b) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1951; and (c) making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116. The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with the moving companies by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price.

Specifically, defendants Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI represented themselves to the public as reputable and long-established moving companies. Defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, Moran Shepkaru, and other Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI employees provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire these companies to move their goods.

Defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano and other Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI employees, supervised loading foremen who typically rushed the customers through the companies' paperwork, causing them to sign blank or incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failed to inform them of the total price of the move. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, the foremen would fraudulently inflate the total price of the move by claiming that the customers' goods occupied more cubic feet than had been originally estimated by the companies and/or by overcharging the customers for packing materials.

When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, and other Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI employees demanded full payment of the fraudulently inflated price before the companies would deliver the goods. Defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, and other Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI employees ignored customers' repeated complaints about the fraudulently inflated price and/or lied to the customers about the delivery of their goods, often using false names when dealing with customers over the telephone and in writing.

When customers refused to pay the inflated price, defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, and other Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI employees arranged to warehouse customers' goods and refused to divulge the location of the goods to customers. When delivering the customers' goods, the foremen, acting under the direction of defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, and other Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI employees, demanded that customers pay any outstanding balance the companies claimed they were owed before they would unload the customers' goods. In addition, defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, and other Moving Systems, AAA, Ameri Van, and SI employees refused to adequately compensate customers for any damaged or undelivered goods.

In one of the cases outlined in the Indictment, defendant Moran Shepkaru, using the name "Lorain S.," sent an e-mail to a victim identified as M.N. in California that conveyed an estimate of $3,120 to move his goods from California to New York. A subcontractor for defendant Ameri Van supervised the loading of his goods and provided the victim with a bill of lading for $3,120.

After the goods had been loaded onto the truck, defendant Hanania Dahan, using the name "Hank," telephoned the victim in New York and inflated the price of the move to $8,400. Defendant Hanania Dahan later telephoned the victim in New York and told him that Ameri Van would not deliver the goods unless he paid the inflated price Ameri Van claimed it was owed.

Defendant Yehiel Toledano, using the name "Jay," also telephoned M.N. in New York and this time threatened to auction M.N.'s goods if he did not pay the inflated price that Ameri Van claimed it was owed.

In addition, the Indictment alleges that the defendants also attempted to defraud an undercover FBI agent posing as a customer, and did defraud eight identified victims. The defendants inflated the original estimate of the victims' moves by over $16, 300. In one case, the defendants inflated the price to seven times the original estimate.

In addition, the Indictment charges Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, Moran Shepkaru, and Hanania Dahan with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2. Defendants Simo Elbaz, Yehiel Toledano, Hanania Dahan, Moshe Elmakias, and Ronen Ovadia are charged with extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2. Defendants Simo Elbaz, Moshe Elmakias, Muin Naserat, and Ronen Ovadia are charged with four substantive counts of making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116 and Title 18 U.S.C. Section 2.

In addition, the companies and Simo Elbaz are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h). Finally, the Indictment includes a forfeiture provision for at least $1,000,000, in addition to seven cars and trucks, and five bank accounts.

8. U.S. v. Southeastern Van Lines, Inc., Anat Ben-Zion, a/k/a "Annette," Lior Bar, a/k/a "Lee Bar," Walter Keener, a/k/a "Bill Weiss," and Roee Bugatti, a/k/a "Roy," Criminal Case No. 03-20128-Cr-Lenard.

On February 11, 2003, a federal grand jury sitting in Miami returned an Indictment charging Southeastern Van Lines, Inc., (Southeastern), a moving company with offices in North Miami, Florida, and four of its officers and employees with conspiracy to commit: (a) wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1343; (b) mail fraud, in violation of Title18, U.S.C. Section1341; (c) extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section1951; and (d) making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116. The conspiracy alleges that the defendants conspired to unjustly enrich themselves by luring customers into doing business with Southeastern by offering them low moving estimates, subsequently inflating the price of the move, and thereafter, withholding delivery of their goods until they paid the inflated price to Southeastern.

Specifically, defendant Southeastern represented itself to the public as a reputable and long-established moving company. Defendants Walter Keener, Lior Bar, and other Southeastern employees provided low moving estimates to customers to induce them to hire Southeastern to move their goods. Defendant Anat Ben-Zion supervised Roee Bugatti and other foremen, who typically rushed the customers through the Southeastern paperwork, causing them to sign blank or incomplete bills of lading and other documents, and failed to inform them of the total price of the move. Once the customers' goods had been loaded, the foremen would inflate the total price of the move by claiming that the customers' goods occupied more cubic feet than had been originally estimated by Southeastern and by overcharging the customers for packing materials.

When contacted by customers requesting the delivery of their goods, defendant Anat Ben-Zion and other Southeastern employees demanded full payment of the inflated price before Southeastern would deliver the goods. Defendants Anat Ben-Zion, Walter Keener, and other Southeastern employees ignored customers' repeated complaints about the inflated price and lied to the customers about the delivery of their goods, often using false names when dealing with customers over the telephone and in writing. When delivering the customers' goods, the foremen, acting under the direction of defendant Anat Ben-Zion and other Southeastern employees, demanded that customers pay any outstanding balance before they would unload the customers' goods. Defendant Anat Ben-Zion and other Southeastern employees refused to adequately compensate customers for any damaged or undelivered goods.

The Indictment charges that the defendants engaged in similar schemes to defraud six victims, and inflated the original estimates of their moves by over $13,700.

The Indictment charges Anat Ben-Zion and Walter Keener with substantive counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 2. Defendants Anat Ben-Zion, and Roee Bugatti were charged with extortion, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Sections 1951 and 2. Finally, Anat Ben Zion and Roee Bugatti are charged with substance counts of making a false bill of lading, in violation of Title 49, U.S.C. Section 80116 and Title 18, U.S.C. Section 2.

C. CONCLUSION

United States Attorney Jimnez said: One of our quintessential freedoms is the freedom to move about the country, to change homes, careers, and, in essence, change our lives. These defendants struck at that freedom and used the victims' own personal property to extort money. Their scheme is now over. These Indictments are a clear statement that we will not allow people to be cheated out of their own belongings by unscrupulous practices.

Special Agent in Charge Pesquera said: The crimes these defendants committed are alleged to have committed are despicable. Victims trusted their cherished belongings to these moving companies, only to find their belongings held hostage. Countless memories and heirlooms have been damaged and/or destroyed and can never be replaced. The FBI will not tolerate such criminal acts and will continue to aggressively investigate those moving companies that use dishonorable and unethical business practices."

Special Agent in Charge Tompkins said: "Today's indictments mark the most significant, concentrated attack by law enforcement against alleged corruption in the household goods moving industry." Tompkins praised the unified effort by the U.S. Attorney's office, FBI and the local law enforcement agencies involved in this case. "Fraud in this industry affects thousands of victims every year in the United States," Tompkins added. "The unsealing of the Indictments today should make it clear that law enforcement efforts are focused on eradicating these types of illegal activities."

Mr. Jimnez thanked the following law enforcement agencies that provided assistance during the investigation and arrests of the defendants: Sunny Isles Beach Police Department, Sunrise Police Department, Plantation Police Department, Davie Police Department, Hollywood Police Department, Miami Beach Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, North Miami Beach Police Department, Broward Sheriff's Office, Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the United States Marshals Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In addition, the Florida Attorney General's Office today also executed over a dozen complaints citing unlawful trade practices and seeking preliminary injunctions on some of these companies.

In addition Mr. Jimnez commended the following consumer affairs agencies that provided assistance in identifying potential victims: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Broward County, Division of Consumer Affairs, Miami-Dade County, Division of Consumer Affairs, and the Palm Beach County, Division of Consumer Affairs.

The Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries were also kind enough to donate household goods that were used by law enforcement in a series of undercover moves that were part of this investigation.

Any member of the public that believes they have been victimized by similar schemes should contact the FBI at the website address: miami.fbi.gov.

Finally, Mr. Jimnez commended the outstanding investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the cooperation of the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Richard D. Boscovich, Christopher J. Clark, Jeffrey R. Levenson, Eileen M. O'Connor, Robin S. Rosenbaum Joan M. Silverstein and Stephen S. Stallings.

Steve
Long Island, New York
U.S.A.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/02/2004 07:42 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Advanced-Moving/Florida/Advanced-Moving-FBI-files-charges-and-the-major-players-are-going-to-Jail-Sunrise-Florida-93415. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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