The secret insides of a moving scam operation: GUILTY PLEAS

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MusicMom
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The secret insides of a moving scam operation: GUILTY PLEAS

Postby MusicMom » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:48 am

I'm posting this because Roni Levin has been a longtime name surfacing on MovingScam. It's nice to see his actions finally caught up with him, and his buddies who collaborated with him. It also shows the inner workings of the typical moving scam: Company A solicits customers and promises to do the move themselves, then takes a deposit. The deposit it kept as payment while the move is farmed out to Company B, who completes the move while jacking up the price to make up for the deposit and then some. Customers often don't know Company A has passed them off until the truck shows up on loading day. Levin went a step further by purposely delaying the move until the customer was not available for the sole purpose of stressing the customer until they agreed to the new contract terms out of desperation. We at MS have been saying for years that this was the intent of scammers, but now it's out in the open in legal documents. The indictment listed at the end of this post lays out other violations of FMCSA regulations. The most glaring is that Levin would convert the original non-binding estimates to Binding, which prevented the FMCSA from investigating, and also prevented customers from exercising the 110% rule (payment of 110% of the estimate upon delivery and remaining charges can be billed 30 days later) available to holders of non-binding estimates but not binding ones. Charges were backed up with switched weight tickets and photocopies of previous loads to fake a higher bill.

http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?S ... qCFfcRDth5
Colorado moving company owner pleads guilty to wire fraud conspiracy
By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer

The owner of a moving company in Colorado pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in a scheme that defrauded at least 75 people.

Yaron “Roni” Levin, 43, was initially charged with five federal counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, extortion, theft from interstate shipments and falsely making bills of lading, according to a January 2012 indictment filed in U.S. District Court of Colorado.

Levin is the owner of Movers USA LLC/A Golden Hand Moving, a Denver-based moving company. The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General announced the guilty plea via press release on Nov. 27.

The release stated that Levin “routinely doubled quoted estimates for an average increase of $2,000 to $5,000, although some victims were charged as much as $10,000 over initial estimates.”

According to the indictment, Levin and his co-defendants devised a scheme to defraud customers “by offering extremely low moving estimates, taking possession of customers’ personal property, and then fraudulently inflating the price of the Movers USA/Golden Hand transport of the customers’ goods.”

The defendants would then withhold delivery of the items until the customers paid the inflated price.

The scheme involved two other moving companies – Worldwide Van Lines of Delray Beach, Fla., and Neighbors Van Lines of Pompano Beach, Fla. – which would advertise discount rates for moving services on websites. Those companies presented themselves as carriers, but actually served as brokers, selling the loads they received to Levin’s company. The brokers kept the deposits from customers as their payment for generating job “leads” for Levin.

Customers were sent an emailed estimate, based on the volume in cubic feet of the furniture, which was then converted to weight at a rate of approximately 7 pounds per cubic foot. The estimated weight was then multiplied by a cost per pound to arrive at the “non-binding” estimated shipping cost.

The indictment states Levin’s company would “purposefully delay” the move in order to force a friend or family member to stay behind and meet the movers. They would then attempt to renegotiate the original estimate, and use the renegotiated contracts to extract additional money from the victims. The company also set up warehouses to store the customers’ goods until payments at the inflated rates had been received.

The indictment lists victims who paid 102 percent to 351 percent increases from the estimates.

A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 27, 2014.

Copyright © OOIDA


And here's a copy of the indictment, listing Movers USA/Golden Hands of CO and previously MD, and Worldwide Van Lines and Neighbors Van Lines, both of FL, operating their scam between 2007 and 2011:
http://denver.bbb.org/Storage/33/Docume ... %20USA.pdf

MusicMom
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: The secret insides of a moving scam operation: GUILTY PL

Postby MusicMom » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:52 am

In my opinion, that indictment should be required reading for anyone hiring a mover based off an internet or phone quote. Let them see what they're about to get into.

Also, I'd like to note that everything Levin and his crew did I experienced firsthand by National Moving Network and AY Transport, the employees of which got some pretty sweet plea deals with no jail time. I'd like to see what Levin is sentenced to come January. I hope there's jailtime involved.

NYCMover
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Location: New York, NY

Re: The secret insides of a moving scam operation: GUILTY PL

Postby NYCMover » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:01 am

Hi MusicMom,

Great, informative post! Thanks for all your good work towards keeping the eyes of the moving public open.

:)

consumer advocate
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Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:52 pm

Re: The secret insides of a moving scam operation: GUILTY PL

Postby consumer advocate » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:04 am

Thanks for posting this encouraging info MM!

I remember very well the stress it caused when my moving company delayed my move by a day and a half. I had to vacate my apartment and get to a new job 600 miles away. They know that most people are in this kind of limited time situation and they've always taken advantage of that. Now it's actually on paper as one of their tactics.

Thanks for posting this. We'll be watching for their sentences.

Big Dog
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Location: Colorado Mountains

Re: The secret insides of a moving scam operation: GUILTY PL

Postby Big Dog » Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:41 pm

Where is the sentencing for Levin taking place? 8)
Big Dog
" If you think hiring a professional mover is expensive, try hiring an amateur"

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: The secret insides of a moving scam operation: GUILTY PL

Postby MusicMom » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:04 am

January in Denver


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