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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 27, 2015

Fake Movers Who Allegedly Stole Household Goods In Multiple Locations Are Arraigned

ATLANTA - Tasheen Raphael Pickett and Shedrick Giles have been arraigned on federal charges arising from the theft of personal property that was entrusted to them as they held themselves out to be professional movers.  Pickett and Giles were indicted by a federal grand jury on March 10, 2015.

“While acting as a professional movers, the defendants allegedly took innocent victims’ belongings—clothes, furniture, and other personal items—and simply never returned them,” said Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn.     

“This action demonstrates the Department of Transportation’s commitment to combat those household goods movers who take advantage of customers by stealing their belongings or holding their goods hostage,” said Marlies T. Gonzalez, Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General Special Agent-in-Charge. “Working with our law enforcement colleagues across government and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) officials, we will continue our efforts to ensure that movers adhere to Federal laws and regulations designed to protect the public.”

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges, and other information presented in court: Since November 2013, Pickett and Giles traveled the United States, acting as professional movers while picking up innocent victims’ personal property shipments and promising to deliver those shipments to agreed-upon locations.  Instead of delivering the property, however, Pickett and Giles would allegedly take control of the property, keeping some of it for themselves.

After a criminal complaint was filed against Pickett in Amarillo, Texas, in July 2014, the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) was notified.  In September 2014, DOT-OIG agents searched storage units at a Public Storage Facility in East Point, Georgia.  There it was discovered that the units were stacked full with approximately 14 individuals’ personal property—property that had allegedly been taken by Pickett months prior and never delivered. 

Other property allegedly taken by Giles was discovered in a second Public Storage Facility in Decatur, Georgia, in January 2015.  Although both Pickett and Giles have worked as movers for the last several years, neither is authorized to transport household goods by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal agency tasked with providing oversight over household goods movers.

Tasheen Raphael Pickett, 40, of College Park, Georgia, and Shedrick Giles, 43, of Brentwood, New York, were arraigned before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Janet F. King.  Pickett was arraigned on March 11, 2015, and Giles was arraigned on March 18, 2015.  They are charged with conspiracy, transportation of stolen property, and possession of stolen property.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General.

Assistant United States Attorney Samir Kaushal is prosecuting the case.

More than 5,800 household goods moving companies are registered with the FMCSA.  In 2014, FMCSA received more than 2,800 consumer complaints about household goods movers, down from more than 3,100 in 2013.  Among the most common complaints are shipments being held hostage, loss and damaged goods, delay of shipments, unauthorized movers, and deceptive practices such as unwarranted overcharges.  Consumers can report unsafe and unlawful moving companies by calling FMCSA’s nationwide complaint hotline at 1-888-368-7238 (1-888 DOT-SAFT) or by visiting the database at http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.  Consumers can visit www.protectyourmove.gov to find out more about the “red flags” of moving fraud.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

Updated April 8, 2015