Federal grand jury indicts 12 in moving company racketeering case
August 2, 2018
Authorities have arrested five individuals charged in federal court with conspiracy in a racketeering enterprise intended to defraud consumers who used the group’s moving companies.
A federal grand jury returned racketeering charges against 12 people total in the conspiracy, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. The release only identifies the defendants who have been arrested as of July 31. Among those arrested is Andrey Shuklin, a 31-year-old Miami man said to have been the owner of the companies.
- Andrey Shuklin, 31, of Miami, one of the reputed owners of the companies.
- Phyllis Ricci Quincoces, also known as Faith Ashford, Grace Rubestello, Phyllis Ricci, and Phyllis Ann, 51, of Hollywood, Fla.
- Vladimir “Vova” Pestereanu, 28, of Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.
- Roman Iakovlev, 31, of Charlotte, N.C.
- Jessica Martin, also known as Emma Ricci, Mary Austin, 28, of Tamarac, Fla.
Court records indicate a sixth defendant is Serghei Verlan, whom the unsealed indictment identifies as one of the operators of the numerous companies owned by Shuklin.
The companies identified in the indictment:
- JBR Underground LLC;
- United National Moving and Storage;
- National Relocation Solutions;
- Independent Van Lines;
- National Relocation Van Lines;
- U.S. Relocation Systems;
- First National Moving and Storage;
- Public Moving and Storage;
- Public Moving Services;
- Smart Relocation Solutions;
- Presidential Moving Services;
- Unified Van Lines; and
- Flagship Van Lines.
According to the indictment, the companies were household goods movers operating in Florida, Ohio, California, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Colorado and Missouri. The primary operations of the enterprise were conducted out of a business address in Hollywood, Fla., and a warehouse in West Chester, Ohio, according to the news release.
Federal prosecutors allege the conspiracy lasted from April 2013 through July 2018. The defendants are accused of giving lowball estimates in order to secure customers’ goods and then raising the rates to complete the job. The defendants and the moving companies would allegedly refuse to give back the household goods until customers paid the inflated prices. In cases where customers refused to do so, prosecutors say the defendants would, in some cases, steal the customers’ household goods, never delivering them.
The conspiracy also is alleged to have involved lying to customers about how long the companies had been in business, as well as creating fake online reviews for the companies.
In March, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an out-of-service order against Presidential Moving, after investigators discovered 256 violations during a compliance review, including contracting to unauthorized shippers and demanding more money than originally agreed to in the binding estimate. More than 80 complaints were filed within the first five months of operation.
Beginning operations in August 2017, Presidential Moving accumulated 83 complaints in 2017 and 64 complaints in 2018 before placed out of service on March 19 after failing to submit to a new entrant audit. Of the nearly 150 complaints, 109 were in regards to pick-up/delivery, 96 were about estimates/final charges and 77 over shipment documents.
At the time, investigators suspected Presidential Moving was a reincarnation of at least nine other motor carriers, including National Moving and Storage, Family Logistics, National Relocation Van Lines, Spartan Moving and Storage, Public Moving Services, U.S. Relocation Systems, Prestige Van Lines and Satellite Logistics.