President And Employee of Brooklyn Moving Company Charged with Defrauding Customers
Defendants Allegedly Misrepresented Moving Costs
A criminal complaint was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Yakov Moroz, the president of Great Movers Inc. and its successor company New City Movers, and company employee Tal Ohana with wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy by misrepresenting estimated charges for moving services and then requiring customers to pay additional fees that far exceeded the original estimate in order to recover their belongings. Moroz and Ohana were arrested earlier today and will make their initial appearance this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Douglas Shoemaker, Special Agent-in-Charge, United States Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General (DOT-OIG), announced the charges.
According to the complaint, Moroz and Ohana, through Great Movers Inc., which operated through the website https://greatmovingusa.com and other affiliated moving companies, defrauded dozens of customers by misrepresenting the estimated charges for moving services and then (i) requiring customers to pay additional fees, often more than 10 percent of the original estimate, (ii) requiring payment before delivery of goods, or (iii) refusing to return and threatening to sell and auction the customers’ belongings if the fees were not paid. These practices violate federal regulations for companies engaged in the transportation of household goods in interstate commerce. Many customers ultimately paid the inflated and additional fees to ensure delivery of their property.
“As alleged, Moroz and Ohana victimized their customers by holding their belongings hostage until the inflated fees were paid,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “This Office will hold accountable anyone who seeks to target the vulnerable in an effort to profit from predatory schemes.” Mr. DuCharme thanked the Better Business Bureau for its assistance with the investigation.
“Imagine moving every item you own from one place to another, trusting the moving company loading up the truck to not rip you off. The subjects in this scheme allegedly used that vulnerability in a cruel way, knowing victims would pay almost anything to get their prized possessions back,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “The FBI New York Joint Major Theft Task Force will investigate these fraudsters, and we want other potential victims to report it to us so we can stop these criminals before they move on to someone else.”
“Today’s arrests and actions taken stemming from a criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) and FBI shows our commitment to rooting out fraudulent household goods movers who take advantage of unsuspecting customers,” stated DOT-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Shoemaker. “Working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, we will continue our vigorous efforts to ensure that commercial household goods movers adhere to Federal laws and regulations designed to protect the public.”
The charges in the complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendants face up to 30 years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section. Assistant United States Attorney Devon Lash is in charge of the prosecution.
Brooklyn, New York
Queens, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-MJ-604