SAN JOSE-- Asaf Nass, the operations manager for AY Transport, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to commit extortion in a moving fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. The sentencing hearing follows an earlier sentencing hearing on March 5, 2014 in the same case in which Randy Goldberg, the chief executive officer of National Moving Network, was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for his involvement in the same scheme.
Nass pleaded guilty on March 8, 2012, to conspiracy to commit extortion. According to the plea agreement, Nass worked as the operations manager for AY Transport, also known as Progressive Van Lines, a moving company headquartered in San Jose, California. Nass admitted to participating in a scheme to extort moving customers by working with a Miami-based moving broker, National Moving Network, to falsely lure customers into moves based upon inaccurate prices, and to subsequently holding customer goods hostage unless the victim paid increased fees. The increased fees for the release of the goods sometimes amounted to two or three times the amount of the original bid provided by National Moving Network. If a customer refused to pay the fees, their goods were sometimes held in storage lockers, and Nass on occasion instructed AY Transport employees to sell the customers’ goods at auction. According to the plea agreement, the losses resulting from the scheme exceeded $250,000. The final restitution amount remains undetermined and is the subject of a restitution hearing scheduled for May 21, 2014.
Nass is the ninth defendant to be sentenced in connection with the AY Transport/National Moving Network case. On March 5, 2014, Randy Goldberg, the president of the National Moving Network, was also sentenced to 18 months imprisonment as a result of his guilty plea to one count of criminal possession of household goods in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 14915. Seven other defendants holding different positions in the two companies have been sentenced to probationary sentences following guilty pleas for their respective roles in the scheme.
The Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, and Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated the investigation in 2003 following numerous customer complaints regarding the tactics employed by AY Transport and National Moving Network.
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy H. Koh following the defendant’s guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. Judge Koh also sentenced the defendant to a term of 3 years of supervised release. The defendant will begin serving the sentence on June 18, 2014. A separate hearing to determine the restitution amount is scheduled for May 21, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.
Jeff Nedrow and Jeff Schenk are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Susan Kreider. The prosecution is the result of a four-year investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.